LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE recent death of 95 Ethiopians in a containerised truck from Tanzania into Zambia highlights the rise in the number of irregular migrants from the Horn of Africa entering Zambia headed to South Africa.
The deaths occurred as the victims were being transported by a suspected human trafficking syndicate in Chembe district in Luapula Province of Zambia.
Victims were bundled in the lorry which also contained bags of beans and groundnuts.
In coordination with the Zambian authorities, the 76 Ethiopians who survived, including children under the age of 18, have been transferred to a protective shelter where they are receiving required assistance.
“The discovery of 19 bodies of those who died in the containerised truck is devastating,” said Abibatou Wane, International Office of Migration Zambia Chief of Mission, said.
The tragedy mirrors a worrying trend.
Recently, a group of 21 Ethiopians unaccompanied children en route to South Africa were intercepted in the Central Province of Zambia, after which they were detained, along with adults who were traveling with them.
Furthermore, a group of 40 Ethiopian minors who were already sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in Central Province for consenting to being smuggled were – after months of advocacy by IOM and the UN Human Rights Commission and others partners – issued a presidential pardon on Africa Day, May 25, by Zambia President, Edgar Lungu.
The 40 children have now been released from detention to safe shelter where they are currently receiving medical and psychosocial support.
They await assistance for their voluntary return to Ethiopia.
– CAJ News