Nineteen Ethiopians found suffocated in truck in Congo

Another 76 people found alive in vehicle stopped near Zambian border

A child stands by a group of people in Gambella, Ethiopia. Photograph: Unicef Ethiopia/AFP/Getty Images

A child stands by a group of people in Gambella, Ethiopia. Photograph: Unicef Ethiopia/AFP/Getty Images

Jun 18, 2016,

The bodies of 19 Ethiopians who suffocated in the back of a Zambian container truck have been discovered in southeastern Democratic Republic ofCongo.

Another 76 Ethiopians were found alive inside the container on the truck when it was stopped just outside the town of Mwenda near the Zambian border on Thursday, according to the interior minister for the province of Haut Katanga, Ufwa Kasongo Kibali.

The minister said it was unclear why the Ethiopians were in the vehicle but UN-sponsored Radio Okapi reported that they were migrants heading toSouth Africa.

The survivors were handed over to the Zambian consulate.

Ethiopia is experiencing its worst drought in 50 years, with more than 10 million people unable to feed themselves because their crops and animals have died. The drought and flash floods have displaced tens of thousands of people.

Many pay smugglers to help them reach South Africa, travelling thousands of miles packed into trucks.

Some 45 Ethiopian migrants were found dead in June 2012 after they suffocated in a container truck in central Tanzania.

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