I think they want to keep track because the water supply is supposed to be enough for around 8000. And surely they're going to Libya, or Djanet would be a very different place...
From Alfredo Bini's home page
Alfredo Bini Photographer, Photoreportage, Images Bank, Fotografo, Reportage Fotografici, Photografer
"Since the beginning of 2009 about 10000 migrants have crossed the Tenere Desert each month in a bid to reach Europe, and in particular Italy. This is the biggest migrant flow of the last six years, and not even the uranium war between the MNJ rebels and the Niger government, which began in the spring of 2007, (has) eclipsed it/eclipses it .
They travel from West Africa and the south to Niger by whatever means they happen to find. Some stay in the cities to try and earn some money; only then do they cross the desert to the oasis of Dirkou, the departure point for Lybia. A good number of them will succeed in setting off, but those without money will be trapped in Dirkou.
Those who cannot continue their journey describe themselves as “stranded”: they do not have enough money, have been robbed, have miscalculated the racket money due at the control posts. The only hope of being able to resume the journey is to work, unpaid, for a master until he pays them. Many adapt to doing any kind of work, but for some the thought of being exploited, inferior and abandoned can prevent reaction, condemning them to a long period of “slavery”.
The women are forced to accept even more unpleasant compromises: working and providing sexual satisfaction for a master, or working in one of the three local brothels for 1500 CFA [2,3€] per appointment. They have no other choice! In early April 2009 there were about 7000 people in Dirkou waiting to leave for Lybia.
Official statistics set the mortality rate caused by the harsh travelling conditions at about 12%, but one imagines that it is actually much higher. At the same time in Italy and Europe politicians were debating the legitimacy of sending boatloads of migrants back seawards."