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Mozambique police found 87 Ethiopians in a container

Mozambique police found 87 Ethiopians in a container

Police Intercept Container With 155 Illegal Immigrants

(Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique) Maputo The Mozambican police on Sunday intercepted a truck carrying a container in which 155 foreigners, from Ethiopia and Somalia, were traveling, reports Wednesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".

One of these illegal migrants had already died of asphyxiation, and a further 50 were in a severely weakened condition, and required medical care.

The truck had entered Mozambique from Malawi, and was driving through Tete province en route to the port city of Beira, where the clandestine migrants would have been unloaded.

The police stopped the truck at a police checkpoint at Matambo, in Changara district, some 20 kilometres south of Tete city. They could hear screams from inside the container, of passengers apparently complaining that they were suffocating to death.

When the truck driver realized that the police knew what he was carrying, he sped away, with the police in pursuit. After a further 20 kilometres, the driver abandoned the truck. The police opened the container and found 68 young Somalis and 87 Ethiopians. The health authorities were called in to revive those who were seriously ill.

The passengers had travelled for many hours from a refugee camp in Malawi inside the windowless metallic container, without any food or drinking water.

The Tete police told reporters they hope to deport the group back to Malawi on Wednesday.

This is the second group of illegal foreigners to be repatriated to Malawi in less than a week. Another 98 were caught crossing the border at Zobue, also in Tete, in another truck on Friday.

In both cases, the police confirmed that the drivers, both of Malawian nationality, managed to run away, but the companies for which they are working have provided the necessary information to have them arrested, and have offered to cooperate with the police.

The owners of those companies, though admitting that the trucks are theirs, deny any involvement in the business of transporting illegal immigrants, and promise to cooperate with the authorities and give all the necessary information.

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