Dozens of migrants die of thirst in Niger desert: officials

NIAMEY: Dozens of migrants from Niger, most of them women and children, died of thirst in the Sahara desert earlier this month after their vehicle broke down, officials said Monday.

One survivor recalled how a man watched his wife and nine children die, and said the migrants, who were headed for Algeria, had been packed “like cattle” into overcrowded vehicles.

“Thirst was the main cause of the deaths of our wives and children,” Sadafiou told the Sahara FM radio station, adding that “hunger and the travelling conditions also took their toll”.

Rhissa Feltou, the mayor of the main northern town of Agadez, told AFP that two vehicles were carrying at least 60 migrants when one broke down, and they were all left behind in the desert while the remaining vehicle was driven off.

“About 40 Nigeriens, including numerous children and women, who were attempting to emigrate to Algeria, died of thirst in mid-October,” he said.

“Many others have been reported missing since their vehicle broke down in the desert.”