At least 15 suspected Somalians have died after suffocating in a containerised truck they were being transported in a suspected human trafficking syndicate in Chembe district in Luapula Province of Zambia.
The deceased were bundled in the lorry which also contained bags of beans and groundnuts which were intercepted 20 kilometers from the Levy Mwanawasa Bridge which borders Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Congolese officials intercepted the truck after hearing some loud bang that was coming from the truck, according to the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday.
Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga confirmed the incident but noted that the police were still waiting for a full report.
But an eyewitness Humphrey Kapapula told the state broadcaster that 15 Somali nationals are suspected to have died in the lorry.
Other reports have put the figure at 20.
He said the truck was believed to have come from Tanzania in a suspected human trafficking syndicate and that the driver has since been arrested to help with investigations.
He said the lorry had passed through Kasama, the provincial capital of northern Zambia and was carrying over 50 people.
Radio Mano, a local private station based in Kasama posted pictures of the deceased on its Facebook page.
Survivors told the radio station that they were transferred from another truck onto the new truck which had no ventilation, resulting in the death of their colleagues.
Zambia has seen an increase in human trafficking, especially involving people from countries in East Africa. A number of trucks laden with suspected prohibited items have been intercepted on numerous occasions.
Source : eNCA