Niger: 92 migrants found dead near Algerian border



A landscape view dated May 2003 shows the Saharan desert in southern Algeria, near the city of Illizi. Dozens of Nigerien migrants heading for Algeria died of thirst in the desert south of the Sahara after their vehicle broke down, local officials said on October 28, 2013 while police said 21 survived.


Hocine Zaourar

Ninety-two people were found dead in the desert in northern Niger after their vehicles broke down during an attempt to cross the Sahara.

They allegedly died of thirst.

Rescue workers say the bodies were found severely decomposed, partly eaten by jackals.

Almost all of them were women and children.

"The bodies were decomposed, it was horrible,"' said Almoustapha Alhacen, a rescue worker, according to the Guardian.

"We found them in various places within a radius of 20 kilometers, and in small groups. Some were lying under trees, others exposed to the sun. Sometimes we found a mother and her children; some of the bodies were children alone."

The travelers were migrants from Niger seeking a better life in Algeria, Azaoua Mahaman of the Synergie nongovernmental organization said.

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The group would likely have been aided by human traffickers who bring the migrants to ports in North Africa to board ships to Europe.

They are believed to have begun their journey in late September and were six miles from the Algerian border when one of their two vehicles broke down.

Only 21 people were reported to have survived.

Those who survived walked for over 50 miles in the desert to the nearest town in Algeria.

The tragedy occurred just weeks after a shipwreck near the Italian island of Lampedusa saw 366 African migrants die when their boat capsized and caught fire.