Bodies of 87 migrants including 48 children found in Niger desert
Published 31/10/2013 | 07:22
The bodies of 87 migrants were found in Niger's northern desert after they died of thirst just a few kilometres from the border of Algeria, their planned destination.
Al Jazeera reports the corpses of the 7 men, 32 women and 48 children were in addition to 5 bodies of women and girls found earlier.
The group were attempting to reach Algeria on a trip that began in late September.
Security sources have reported that they likely died in early October.
Almoustapha Alhacen, a spokesman of local aid organisation Aghir In'man, confirmed the death toll.
He described how the bodies were found; "The corpses were decomposed; it was horrible.
“We found them in different locations in a 20km radius and in small groups, often under trees, or under the sun. Sometimes a mother and children, but some lone children too," Alhacen said.
Once discovered, the bodies were buried according to Muslim rites.
Nigerien officials said on Monday that dozens of migrants, most of them women and children, had died of thirst in the Sahara desert earlier this month.
Two vehicles carrying the migrants broke down, one about 83km from the city of Arlit in northern Niger where they had set off from, and another at 158km.
"The first vehicle broke down. The second returned to Arlit to get a spare part after getting all the migrants it was carrying to alight, but it too broke down," a security source said.
"We think that the migrants were in the desert for seven days and on the fifth day, they began to leave the broken down vehicle in search of a well," they added.
However, 21 people had survived, the source said, including a man who walked to Arlit and a woman who was saved by a driver who came across her in the desert and took her to the same city.
Nineteen others reached the Algerian city of Tamanrasset but were sent back to Niger, the source added.
Niger is one of the world's poorest countries and has been hit by successive food crises.