/ languages

Choisir langue

France/Congo – immigration

Congolese girl detained and deported in less than 24 hours

Article published on the 2009-10-26 Latest update 2009-10-26 12:21 TU

Orly airport(Photo: Olivier2000/Wikimedia)

Orly airport
(Photo: Olivier2000/Wikimedia)

A 19-year-old Congolese student was detained in Paris last week and deported in less than 24 hours. Her exasperated mother says she had no idea what happened until she received a call from her daughter in Brazzaville, in tears and threatening to commit suicide.

The student, Nanette Alanhi Bangofa, who is enrolled in a trade college in Paris’s 11th district, was changing trains at Gare du Nord on Wednesday last week when she was stopped by police and asked for identification, her mother told the media.

She produced a Congolese passport and was arrested immediately, her mother explained. Nanette was put on a plane the next morning to Brazzaville without being allowed to call her family or collect her things.

Her mother, Victoire, reported her as missing when she failed to return home at the end of the school day, but was told that because Nanette is not a minor, she would have to wait 48 hours before the police would consider her a missing person.

After receiving the phonecall from her daughter in Brazzaville the next day, Victoire went to Orly airport to confirm whether her daughter had been accompanied by police to the airport.

“Everyone denied it,” she said, before going to the police on Friday, where she was told her daughter asked to leave France and return to Congo.

“Nanette requested asylum and was given an appointment on the 9th of October, but she did not come,” explained a police official. “She also registered for the voluntary departure program at the immigration office to get 300 euros in state aid. She decided to go home herself,” the official told the French press.

RESF, a group that works to support undocumented immigrants in France, confirms the deportation, adding that Nanette has been enrolled in the French school system for two years and that her mother has a legal residency permit, while her father is deceased.

Victoire also contests the official explanation. "My daughter called me in tears. She even threatened to kill herself. Who would leave for Congo with only a school bag on her back?"

The deportation occurred the same day that another high-profile deportation took place. France put three Afghans on a plane for Kabul where they joined 23 Afghans expelled from Britain.

France has a deportation quota of 27,000 undocumented migrants in 2009. 21,000 have already been sent home, according to Immigration Minister Eric Besson.