NIAMEY (Web Desk) – Thirty-four migrants, including twenty children, were found dead in the Sahara Desert on Thursday.

According to Nigerian officials, the bodies were found near the small desert town of Assamakka at the border of Algeria, BBC reported.

Interior Minister Bazoum Mohammed has said that it appeared they had died of thirst after being abandoned by their smuggler.

Niger has become a major migrant route between sub-Saharan African and Europe after Libya descended into political chaos

The Interior Minister confirmed that nine of the adults were women and five were men.

Two victims have been identified as Nigerian but the nationalities of the others are not yet clear.

Thousands of illegal migrants have traveled to Algeria in recent years, most of them via Mali and Niger.