Migrants rescued in remote Sahara desert
83 migrants were rescued last week in the Sahara desert, north of Niger. The group had gone three days without food or water after their smugglers abandoned them on their way to Libya.
A group of 83 people have been arrested in a remote part of the Sahara Desert where hundreds more have died in recent years, the United Nations migration agency IOM said this week.
41 Nigerian women and girls, including 4-year-old twins, and 42 men from Nigeria, Togo, Mali and Ghana were found on September 3 by the IOM search and rescue team and the unit. of civil protection of Niger. They were in distress, dehydrated and in need of medical assistance.
One of the men, named “Dennis”, said they were stranded for three days without food or water.
“We looked for water, but only found dirty wells used by cattle,” he told IOM. “People were crumbling left and right. I started to cry when I saw the cars approaching, hoping for help.”
The rescued migrants have been transferred to a COVID-19 quarantine site where they are receiving food, water and medical care, IOM said.Abandoned in the desert
The migrants reportedly left Agadez in northern Niger two weeks ago, heading for Libya. They traveled in separate vans to avoid detection, according to the IOM. On September 1, the group was abandoned by their four drivers, who took all their belongings, when they saw military vehicles in front of them.
Boubacar Djaram, mayor of Dirkou, said this group would likely have died had it not been discovered. “The migrants rescued last Thursday were found in an isolated place far from all life,” he said.
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The Agadez region covers over 700,000 square kilometers.
Since 2016, more than 1,870 migrants have been rescued through operations in the Niger desert, including more than 400 this year alone, IOM said.
“It is impossible to know how many migrants have died trying to cross the Sahara. Many bodies are buried during the sandstorms, never to be found again,” said Barbara Rijks, the agency’s head of mission at Niger.
Libya is a major transit point for African and Arab migrants trying to reach Europe.
With AP, AFP