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Bodies of 87 migrants found in Niger desert.

NyAMEY (CyHAN)- The bodies of 87 migrants were found Wednesday in Niger's desert north after they died of thirst just a few kilometres from the border of Algeria, their planned destination, sources said.

The corpses of the seven men, 32 women and 48 children were in addition to five bodies of women and girls found earlier, a security source said.

All died in early October after a failed attempt to reach Algeria that began in late September, the source added.

Almoustapha Alhacen, from local aid organisation Aghir In'man, confirmed the death toll and gave a graphic account of discovering the bodies.

"The corpses were decomposed; it was horrible," he said. "We found them in different locations in a 20-kilometre (12-mile) radius and in small groups, often under trees, or under the sun. Sometimes a mother and children, but some lone children too," Alhacen said.

The bodies were buried according to Muslim rites, "as and when they were found," added Alhacen.

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 were carrying the migrants when they broke down, one about 83 kilometres from the city of Arlit, northern Niger where they had set off from, and another at 158 kilometres, a security source said.

"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," said the source.

"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," said the source.

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.

Libya, rather than Algeria, is more frequently the favoured country of transit for west Africans making the journey across the continent, many of whom aim to travel on to Europe.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that at least 30,000 economic migrants passed through Agadez, northern Niger's largest city, between March and August of this year.

SHOT LIST

ALGERIA, ILLIZI : (FILES) A landscape view dated May 2003 shows the Saharan desert in southern Algeria near the city of Illizi. 31 European tourists are missing in Algeria since mid-February. 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 19 survived. AFP PHOTO HOCINE ZAOURAR

ALGERIA, ILLIZI : (FILES) 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 19 survived. AFP PHOTO / HOCINE ZAOURAR

MOROCCO, - : (FILES) This picture taken on October 8, 2005 shows a would-be immigrant resting in the middle of the Sahara Desert, near the border with Algeria. 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 19 survived. AFP PHOTO / SAMUEL ARANDA

NIAMEY, MAY 26, 2012, SOURCE: AFPTV

-VAR of people praying in the street

-VAR of a market in Niamey

-VAR of the traffic and work in Niamey

-VAR of the great mosque of Niamey

-VAR of people growing vegetables on the border of the Niger river, in front of Niamey

-VAR of young people washing in the Niger river

ARLIT MINE, NIGER, JANUARY 2006, SOURCE: AREVA

NO RESALE FOR NON-EDITORIAL PURPOSES

(Arlit Mine is near to where the migrants were found.)

ATTENTION : Most images are without sound

Various images of the mine

- Truck carrying miners

- VAR galleries

- VAR drill

- VAR minors probing the ceiling of the gallery

- VAR geologists making checks

- VAR preparations for an explosion

- VAR firing

- VAR minors working

- VAR minors out of the mine by truck

- VAR minors

- VAR exploitation of surface deposits

- VAR shoveling machine

- VAR the surface explosion

- VAR miners and machines doing their work, shoveling ore

- VAR control room

TC 02:05

- various workshops for the site to function independently

- External views, view of a heap of ore

DURATION: 04:29

CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Geographic Code:6ALGE
Date:Oct 31, 2013
Words:807
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