An unspecified number of Gambians are among 51 migrants from West Africa who are missing and feared dead after they were stranded in the Sahara Desert, a report quoting the International Organization for Migration said Tuesday.
According to the Associated Press, the migrants are presumed dead in Niger after smugglers abandoned them during their journey north to Libya.
The group said Tuesday that some migrants from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast alerted authorities days ago that they had been stranded and the organization said the survivors were taken to Seguedine, where one died.
However survivors said they were in a group of 75 taking three different cars.
The organization said the authorities are now searching for the 51 bodies after sand storms. It is not immediately confirmed how many of them are Gambians.
IOM says it has saved more than 600 migrants since April 2016 in Niger, which is a major route for West African migrants making their way toward Europe.