NIAMEY. – Authorities in Niger rescued 92 West African migrants last week abandoned by traffickers in the Sahara desert as they tried to cross into neighbouring Libya, the International Organisation for Migration said yesterday.
The West African country is a way station for migrants heading to Europe and some experts believe that more African migrants die in the Sahara than at sea.
The 92 migrants, most of them Nigerian, were rescued on Friday by an IOM team and Nigerien soldiers, Giuseppe Loprete, head of the IOM mission in Niger, told Reuters.
One of the migrants died shortly after arriving at an IOM facility in the north-eastern town of Dirkou, he said. The rest will soon be transferred to Agadez in central Niger before eventually being repatriated to their countries of origin.
European countries have promised Niger tens of millions of dollars to combat people smuggling and the IOM said in April that the number of migrants crossing Niger to reach Libya has declined since last year, largely due to a government crackdown. – Reuters.