Migrant bodies found in Niger after Sahara sandstorm

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The bodies of 18 migrants, mainly West Africans who were trying to reach Europe, have been found in the Sahara desert in Niger, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

Most died of dehydration after losing their way in a sandstorm, having set off from the desert town of Arlit.

The 17 men and one woman are thought to have died on 3 June.

The IOM estimates that about 100,000 people are expected to make the same journey across the Sahara this year.

The migrants came from different countries, including Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, the Central African Republic, Liberia, and Guinea, with one reportedly from Algeria, IOM says.

There are no rescue missions in the Sahara, which may explain why the migrants' bodies were not discovered for almost 10 days, reports the BBC's Thomas Fessy from Senegal.

The IOM says it is impossible to know how many migrants die in the desert - possibly hundreds every year.

It estimates 1,865 people have died so far this year in the Mediterranean, trying to reach Europe.

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