Algeria has been accused of abandoning migrants in the Sahara Desert, a development the UN has warned could trigger another crisis.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said that it has been forced to take in and handle some 10,000 migrants who were left to die in the desert since September.
The situation is likely to create a humanitarian crisis along the Niger border. Many of the migrants were abandoned by traffickers and a significant number deported by Algerian authorities.
These migrants have to endure harsh conditions in the desert hoping to reach the nearest border town. Many who are unable to endure the heat die in the process.
One migrant, from Mali, recounted his own experience to the BBC by saying that “They took all our belongings – money, mobiles, everything. They treated us badly. They dropped us in the Sahara Desert.”
The migrant also said that “we were forced to walk dozens of kilometres to reach Assamaka, the border town. It was like walking through hell. Pregnant women and underage children were trudging along as the Sahara sun was beating us down. We had nothing to eat, and we heard that at least two people died in the dunes.”
Saturday 343 #migrants expelled by #Algeria including 176 men, 53 women, 114 minors. Over 3000 migrants with @OIM_Niger for assistance. Many departures this week for their homes by charters and bus with #EUTF. #refugees expelled by Algeria now helped @UNHCRNiger. Will this end? pic.twitter.com/cRWnRNHfqJ
— Giuseppe Loprete (@g_loprete) May 14, 2018
IOM’s chief of mission in Niger, Giuseppe Loprete has raised awareness about the plights of these migrants many of whom are coming from Sub-Saharan African countries.
They have been hoping to reach Europe for greener pasture.