Dozens Of Migrants Feared Dead In Niger

Many migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are driven through southern Libya in trucks to the northern coast where they later attempt the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Italy © AFP/File ISSOUF SANOGO

Twenty-four West African migrants were rescued and dozens more feared dead after traffickers deserted them in Niger’s northern desert without food or water, a senior local official said.

The migrants rescued on Sunday were part of a group of “70 people who had left in three vehicles from Agadez for Libya,” Fatoumi Boudou, the prefect of the northern region of Bilma.

Agadez is a remote town in Niger on the edge of the Sahara that has become the smuggling capital of Africa.

The traffickers “abandoned them in the middle of the desert without food or water,” he said, adding that those rescued had spoken of several dead bodies without specifying a number.

But the Agadez-based Air Info website, citing a security source, said scores of bodies had been buried on Sunday by troops and locals.

A local radio station had said 52 dead bodies had been discovered by authorities on Sunday.

The 750-kilometre (465-mile) trip from Agadez to the Libyan border takes between two and three days with only very short petrol and toilet stops on the way.

Boudou said searches across a 65-kilometre radius had yielded one dead body “with the identity card of a Nigerian student.”

AFP

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