As 41 Nigerian human trafficking victims returned from Mali on Monday night, an additional 97 Nigerians touched down in Lagos later that same night after being deported from South Africa for committing various civil, criminal, and drug related offences.

This comes as tensions between the two African countries heighten due to a rise in xenophobic attacks on Nigerian nationals living in South Africa.

Among the deportees were 95 men and two women.

A source close to one of the security agencies at the airport told our correspondent that six of the deportees were brought back to Nigeria for drug related offences, ten were arrested and deported for non-drug related criminal offences, while others committed immigration offences while residing in South Africa.

The source explained to our correspondent that those deported for drug and criminal offences were handed over to police for further prosecution while others with civil and immigration related offences were released after their profiling by the officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the airport.

On the same day Nigerians were being deported, Mali, in conjunction with the Nigerian government, evacuated 41 Nigerian girls who had been trafficked into Mali.

Their sponsors, six in number, were arrested and deported to Nigeria.

Last week, 171 Nigerians voluntarily returned from Libya. Some of the returnees, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), had spent between six months and two years doing menial jobs.

Between January and February 2017, no fewer than 700 Nigerians have been deported from several countries, including the United States and countries in Europe.

South African President Jacob Zuma and Nigerian President Muhammdu Buhari

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