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Men walk near the border of Niger and Algeria. Photo: Markus Matzel/ullstein bild via Getty Images

More than 13,000 migrants, including children and pregnant women, have been abandoned by Algeria in the Saharan desert over the last year, causing an unknown number to die, an AP investigation has found.

Why it's happening: Europe has been applying "renewed pressure on North African countries to head off migrants going north to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea," per the AP, and has blocked most crossings from Libya. That has led more migrants to travel through Algeria, where authorities have been rounding them up, dropping them near the border with Niger, and forcing them to walk through the desert until they can reach safety in Niger or potentially be found by U.N. rescue teams.

From the report: "In Niger, where the majority head, the lucky ones limp across a desolate 15-kilometer (9-mile) no-man's-land to Assamaka, less a town than a collection of unsteady buildings sinking into drifts of sand. Others, disoriented and dehydrated, wander for days before a U.N. rescue squad can find them. Untold numbers perish along the way; nearly all the more than two dozen survivors interviewed by the AP told of people in their groups who simply could not go on and vanished into the Sahara."

  • "'Women were lying dead, men... Other people got missing in the desert because they didn’t know the way,' said Janet Kamara, who was pregnant at the time. 'Everybody was just on their own.'"

The big picture: "Within seconds of setting foot on the sand, the heat pierces even the thickest shoes. Sweat dries upon the first touch of air, providing little relief from the beating sun overhead. Each inhalation is like breathing in an oven."

  • "'There were people who couldn’t take it. They sat down and we left them. They were suffering too much,' said Aliou Kande, an 18-year-old from Senegal."

What they're saying: "A European Union spokesperson said the EU was aware of what Algeria was doing, but that 'sovereign countries' can expel migrants as long as they comply with international law," the AP notes.

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.