Refugee crisis: 20 children, found dead in Niger desert

Niger: The bodies of 34 migrants, including 20 children, have been found dead in the Niger desert. They were abandoned by people smugglers while trying to reach neighbouring Algeria last week, said the authorities.

Niger’s interior ministry said in a statement. “Thirty-four people, including five men, nine women and 20 children died trying to cross the desert.”

Security source said. “They probably died of thirst, as is often the case, and they were found near Assamaka.”

The statement added.”(The migrants) were abandoned by people smugglers,”and only two of the bodies have so far been identified – a man and a 26-year-old woman both from Niger.

The nationality of the victims are not clear. The temperatures in the region can reach 42C, with powerful sandstorms tearing across the desert.

Algeria has become the main destination for the refugees. Previously Libya used to play host to the majority of refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, till the country descended into chaos following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) more than 120,000 people crossed through Agadez last year. IOM recorded 37 refugees died in the desert last year.