KANO, Nigeria (AP) — The interior minister says Nigeria has deported 22,000 illegal migrants to neighboring countries in a crackdown related to an Islamic uprising in the northeast.
Minister Abba Moro accused "criminals among these illegal aliens" of abetting Islamic extremists who want to overturn democracy and install strict Shariah law throughout Africa's most populous nation of more than 160 million people divided almost equally between Muslims and Christians.
He told a news conference Friday that all 22,000 were sent to neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon. He said security and immigration officials have identified 84 illegal border crossings where they intend to back up patrols with electronic surveillance.
The deportations took place since a 3-month-old state of emergency was imposed in three northeastern states covering one-sixth of Nigeria and bordering the deportees' three countries.