LUSAKA, Zambia –Zambian police discovered the bodies of 27 men, believed to be Ethiopian migrants, dumped in a farming area on the outskirts of the capital on Sunday after they died of suspected hunger and exhaustion, according to authorities.
According to police, the only survivor was discovered alive in the early hours of Sunday morning and was rushed to a Lusaka hospital for treatment, while the dead were taken to the mortuary for identification and post-mortems to determine the exact cause of death.
According to preliminary police investigations, the victims were all males aged 20 to 38 who had been dumped along a road by unknown people.
“Police and other security wings have since instituted investigations into the matter,” Danny Mwale, police spokesman, said in a statement after police were alerted to the gruesome scene by members of the public.
Ethiopian migrants frequently use Zambia to travel to countries such as South Africa. Hundreds of people have died in Malawi and Zimbabwe in recent months after suffocating in the backseats of lorries.
In October, 25 people thought to be Ethiopian migrants were discovered in a mass grave in Mzimba, Malawi. Police believe they suffocated and were dumped by the people transporting them.
Zimbabwean police reported the discovery of four men’s bodies dumped by the roadside in Mutoko, Mashonaland East, in November.
Mutoko is on the Harare-Nyamapanda Road leading to the Nyamapanda gateway to Mozambique and Malawi. Police said the four were “suspected foreigners who were being trafficked to South Africa.”