MAPUTO, Mozambique — More than 60 undocumented migrants believed to be Ethiopians were found dead in a cargo truck in northwestern Mozambique on Tuesday.
The truck, which had entered Mozambique from the neighboring country of Malawi, was stopped at a checkpoint in Moatize, near the Zambezi River in Tete Province, according to the online site Zitamar News.
According to the authorities, the driver was ordered to open the truck when officials heard bashing noises coming from the container, and 14 survivors were also found inside. The victims were said to have died from a lack of oxygen.
The survivors will be screened for the coronavirus and put into quarantine, health officials told Zitamar.
Mozambique is a transit route for African migrants trying to reach South Africa, one of the continent’s largest economies, according to the International Office on Migration, a United Nations body.
At least 200 unauthorized migrants, mostly from Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi and Somalia, have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to enter Tete Province this year, and all indicated that their destination was South Africa, according to Zitamar.
Migrants fleeing poverty or war in troubled areas of the world face perilous, and often deadly, journeys in search of a better life. Some are forced to take dangerous sea crossings; others are herded into vehicles to make arduous overland trips.
In southeastern England last year, 39 bodies were found in a refrigerated truck container abandoned in an industrial park. The police in that case confirmed that all the victims — who were believed to have been transported to Britain through a global human-trafficking network — were from Vietnam.