Zambian police on Sunday found the bodies of 27 men, believed to be migrants from Ethiopia, dumped in a farming area on the outskirts of the capital after they died from suspected hunger and exhaustion, authorities said.
A sole survivor was found alive in the early hours of Sunday morning and rushed to a Lusaka hospital for treatment, while the dead were transported to the mortuary for identification and post mortems to determine the exact cause of death, police said.
Preliminary police investigations showed the victims were all males aged between 20 and 38 and 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 often use Zambia when travelling to countries such as South Africa. In recent months, dozens have died in Malawi and Zimbabwe after suffocating in the back of lorries.
In October, 25 people believed to be migrants from Ethiopia were found in a mass grave in Mzimba, Malawi. Police suspected they suffocated and were dumped by the people transporting them.
In November, Zimbabwean police reported the discovery of the bodies of four men dumped roadside in Mutoko, Mashonaland East.
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.”