The UN Migratory agency, International Organization for Migration (IOM), has confirmed that more than 80 African migrants have been rescued from the Sahara Desert after they were robbed and left to die on their own by people, they had paid to smuggle them to Libya.
The IOM stated that the drivers abandoned four trucks carrying the migrants from Nigeria, Togo, Mali and Ghana with no food or water about 230km north of the Sahara crossroad town of Niger’s Dirkou after spotting military vehicles.
The group was rescued by the team of IOM on September 3 and provided them with immediate assistance as the group, including children, were dehydrated, injured and in need of immediate medical assistance.
Paul Dillon, Spokesperson of IOM said, “Sometimes smugglers return without their passengers. It’s not a rare event … They know the consequences of leaving people stranded in the desert. It’s very troubling this disregard for human life.”
Paul Dillon by referring to joint operations with Niger authorities added, “Past SAR operations have recovered bodies buried in the sand … It’s a vast space and there are many, many routes north and we don’t have resources for patrols.”
The Sahara Desert is one of the most perilous parts of the journey for the illegal migrants from West Africa to Europe in search of job. In 2016, IOM has helped rescue over 20,000 migrants from the Sahara Desert. Excluding the latest group of saved immigrants, the IOM has rescued 321 people so far in the year 2020.