Johannesburg – Ninety-two Somalis were bound and shackled for two days, some forced to urinate on themselves, during a botched US deportation attempt, AP reports.
US immigration agents “kicked, struck, choked and dragged detainees” during the journey that began on December 7, a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Miami says. Some of the Somalis were put in straitjackets.
The flight from Louisiana arrived in Dakar, Senegal but subsequently sat on the runway for 23 hours before eventually returning to the US because the crew was tired.
There is a growing number of Somalis who are being deported from the US, a move which has alarmed human rights groups and legal experts who state that the safety of the deportees is being compromised by returning people to a war zone.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that 521 Somalis were deported this year, up sharply from 198 last year, making Somalis the largest number of citizens deported home among African nations.
However, there are also fears that some of the Somalis may be connected to militant group Al Shabaab which has destabilised the Horn of Africa country, carrying out regular attacks on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)-backed military, government officials and civilians.
A deadly double car bombing attack by Al Shabaab in October in the capital Mogadishu killed over 500 people.
African News Agency/ANA