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General News of Thursday, 31 October 2013

Source: Ismail Akwei

Over 80 migrants’ bodies found on the Sahara; Ghanaians involved?

Ghanaians are feared to be among 87 corpses of migrants found on a stretch of the Sahara desert on Wednesday in Agadez, Niger, believed to have died of thirst after their vehicle broke down.

The corpses were in a severe state of decomposition and had been partly eaten; say rescue workers who believe most of them were migrant workers in their teens seeking to reach the coasts of North Africa and to Europe.

It’s no news that hundreds of young Ghanaians risk their lives traveling through the desert in search of greener pastures in North Africa and Europe, despite reports of high fatalities.

Ten survivors who made it by foot to a nearby town, Arlit, raised the alarm, and reports indicate that one of the vehicles the migrants were traveling in broke down some time after they left Arlit at the end of September or beginning of October. The second vehicle broke down as it was on its way back to Arlit to get spare parts.

GhanaWeb spoke to a Ghanaian returnee from Libya, Abdallah Alhassan, who confirmed the perilous journey through Agadez, adding that Ghanaians are still crossing the desert because more of them believe they could become rich quickly in North Africa.

Mr. Alhassan who works at the Art Center in Accra, acknowledged the risks of traveling through the desert due to vehicular breakdown, water shortage and robbery challenges. He added that it was worth it, for him, since he made 10 dinars a day which was about Ghc90, aside the free food he gets from his employers for selling Islamic literature.

He recounted his journey through the desert which took about a week to reach Bourkou from Agadez, where the bodies were found. He said they had to wait for about a day for spare parts to be purchased after their vehicle broke down.

Abdallah Alhassan said he has plans of returning to Libya through the desert since he is familiar with the system and he would make more money to support his family despite the fact that it cost about Ghc1500 to embark on the journey, aside other security challenges.