92 Niger migrants die of thirst while trying to cross Sahara Desert

NIAMEY (TIP): The corpses of 92 migrants, most of them women and children, have been found in northern Niger after their vehicles broke down attempting to cross the vast Sahara desert, authorities said on october 31.

The migrants had set off in two trucks from the uranium mining town of Arlit in northern Niger towards Tamanrasset in Algeria in mid-October, officials said. After one of the trucks broke down, the second turned back to find help but found itself stranded and the passengers attempted to make it back by foot. The mayor of Arlit, Maouli Abdouramane, said 92 bodies had been recovered after days of searching — 52 children, 33 women and seven men.

“The search is still going on,” Abdouramane said. He said the victims were all from Niger but their final destination was unclear. A military officer said about 20 people survived the ordeal. Five of those walked for dozens of kilometres across the burning desert back to Arlit to inform authorities. The bodies were strewn across the desert within 20km of the border with Algeria, a second military source said. Most people who use the perilous route across the dunes are young African men in search of work in Europe or north Africa, raising questions about the purpose of the doomed convoy of women and children.

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