File Photo: The bodies of illegal immigrant lie dead on the shore

File Photo: The bodies of illegal immigrant lie dead on the shore

The Nigerien authorities and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Monday in Niamey, announced the discovery of the bodies of 18 migrants in the Sahara desert.

Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Niger’s Chief of Mission, said the victims included 17 men and one woman, of different nationalities.

He said most of them were from West Africa, including Niger, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Central African Republic, Liberia, and Guinea, with one victim reportedly from Algeria.

Loprete said the death must have occurred while they were trying to reach Libya en route Europe, as a result of dehydration.

“They succumbed after having lost their route from Arlit, Niger to Algeria due to a sand storm, and then the heat and lack of water did the rest.

“This tragedy highlights a feared but hitherto little-known danger too many migrants face long before they risk their lives at sea,” he said.

Loprete said the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (IOMMMP), has reported that through 12 June, an estimated 1,865 people have died seeking passage across the Mediterranean.

He said as a result of the stepped up efforts by Europe, to patrol water routes, more than 50,000 migrants, so far have been rescued in the waters between Libya’s coast and Italy from January to June.