The bodies of some Ethiopians involved in migrant smuggling were found in a truck carrying small fish in DRC last week.
The bodies were found by Congolese border guards and were said to have died of asphyxia.
While 19 were found dead, 76 others were found alive when the Zambian-registered truck was stopped in south-eastern Congo due to a “nauseous ” smell.
“We stopped this vehicle … because of the nauseous smell which was coming from the trailer,” said Jean-Pierre Lubosha, the local head of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border guard (DMG).
When interrogated, the stowaway admitted to fleeing Ethiopia search of better lives in South Africa.
“The bodies were handed over to the Zambian authorities on Thursday. We interviewed the survivors who all claimed to be Ethiopian nationals,” said Lubosha.
The Ethiopians were handed over to Zambian officials who praised the DEC officials for doing their job.
“We congratulate the Congolese authorities for their vigilance, allowing them to discover this scandalous human trafficking, implicating three Zambian members of the (lorry) crew,” said Zambian vice consul David Nyangulu.
Human smuggling or trafficking is not uncommon in Ethiopia, which ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world.
In 2014 it was recorded that some 90,000 migrants were smuggled from Ethiopia and Somalia into Yemen.
The Ethiopian government also sought to alleviate the issue by passing a law against human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The law was drafted in conjunction with UNODC – ROEA (United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime – Regional Office in Eastern Africa).
Regardless of this, migrant smuggling continues to be an issue.