The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has started flying African invaders pretending to be refugees directly into Italy from Libya, offering them free rides into Europe if they can get as far as Libya.
According to the UNHCR, the first 162 sub-Saharan Africans—who made it as far as Libya in their attempts to invade Europe—arrived by a specially chartered Italian C-130 military aircraft at an airport south of Rome this past week.
The Africans were identified by UNHCR representatives as being “vulnerable” and therefore qualified for a free ride to Europe.
It is the first time the UNHCR in Libya has evacuated invaders directly to Europe. “We really hope other countries will follow the same path,” Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean, said in a statement after the first plane arrived.
The UNHCR estimates about 18,000 Africans are being held in detention centres for immigrants that are controlled by the Tripoli government and it aims to evacuate as many as 10,000 next year.
In total the UNHCR has registered more than 44,000 as “refugees” and “asylum seekers” in Libya.
Italy’s Catholic church will house many of the new arrivals in shelters across the country, church charity Caritas said, as the invaders from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen go through the country’s “asylum” request process.
The far-left Italian government’s move to allow the direct importation of Africans follows criticism of their earlier policy to stop the invasion from Libya in exchange for aid, training and equipment to fight smuggling.
“This should be a point of pride for Italians,” the leftist Interior Minister Marco Minniti told reporters on the tarmac. “This is the just beginning. We will continue to try to open this humanitarian corridor.”