Bodies of migrants found in Niger

31 Oct

 

MAP

Rescue workers in Niger say they have found the bodies of 87 people who died of thirst after their vehicles broke down as they tried to cross the Sahara.

Rescue worker Almoustapha Alhacen said the corpses were in a severe state of decomposition and had been partly eaten, probably by jackals.

Those found are thought to be migrant workers and their families. Most were women and children.

Niger is on a popular migrant route between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.

But among those who make it across the desert, many end up working in North African countries.

According to Mr Alhacen, one of the vehicles that the migrants were travelling in broke down some time after they left Arlit at the end of September or beginning of October.

Security officials have said the second vehicle broke down as it was on its way back to Arlit to get spare parts.

It appears that some of the group set out on foot, including up to 10 people who made it back to Arlit and raised the alarm, he said.

It was reported on Monday that five bodies had been found.

On Wednesday, volunteers and soldiers working in searing heat found other corpses across a wide area about 10km (six miles) from the Algerian border.

Given that at least 48 of those found were children or teenagers, Mr Alhacen said it was possible they were on their way to low paid jobs in neighbouring Algeria.

Speaking from Arlit, a centre for uranium mining north of Agadez, he told the BBC that he had experienced the worst day of his life when he found the bodies.

 

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