Morocco awaits Algeria’s authorization to repatriate its stranded nationals

Moroccans stranded in Algeria may be next on the list for repatriation. Well-informed sources told Yabiladi that Morocco is awaiting the authorization of the Algerian authorities to proceed with the repatriation operation.

A RAM flight. / Ph. Daniel Danel - flickr
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Unable to fly home since mid-March, Moroccans stranded in Algeria may be repatriated on Saturday, May 30. «Officials from the Moroccan consulate in Algiers came to see us yesterday at the hotel where we were staying at and asked for our
passports», Mohamed, a Moroccan stranded in the neighboring country, told Yabiladi on Friday.

The stranded national was informed, alongside other Moroccans, that «the decision was made by Rabat and that 300 people will be repatriated on Saturday». «They took the passports of those staying at the hotel and even contacted those who are not assisted by the consulate», Mohamed reported. «Some were called this morning at around 4 am», he explained.

Another Moroccan stranded in Algeria confirmed the same news. «The first flight will leave Algiers at 11 am tomorrow» and it will be «followed by two others», Janat told Yabiladi. «Officials from the consulate have told us to get ready by 7 in the morning and that they would be taking us by bus to the airport», she added.

Yabiladi understands that the possible repatriation operation only targets Moroccans stranded in the Algerian capital. Contacted by Yabiladi, sources at the Moroccan consulate in Sidi Bel Abbes said that they were not aware of a repatriation operation concerning Moroccans stranded in that part of the country. «We heard the news from Moroccans who called us this morning to inquire about this operation», the same source added.

Awaiting the authorization of the Algerian authorities

Meanwhile, an authorized source within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that the Moroccan authorities have indeed asked the diplomatic representations of the Kingdom in Algeria to «be ready» for a possible repatriation operation. «We are awaiting an authorization» from the Algerian authorities, the same source added. According to the source, Morocco is expected to repatriate stranded nationals Algiers, Oran and Sidi Ben Abbes.

The possibility of repatriating a group of Moroccans stranded in Algeria was also confirmed by a source close to Royal Air Maroc (RAM). Contacted by Yabiladi, the same source announced that three flights would leave Casablanca on Saturday and head to Algeria, in order to repatriate a group of Moroccans.

«We do not have details on the number of people who will be repatriated, but RAM will operate Boeing 737-800 planes which each have a 156 seat-capacity. We do not know if these planes will come back full», the same source added. «This may frustrate other Moroccans still stranded abroad and awaiting repatriation, but we hope it will be a starting point for this operation», our source said.

For the record, Morocco has conducted a series of repatriation operations bringing groups of Moroccans stranded in Ceuta and Melilla. Thousands of other nationals are also awaiting repatriation.

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