By James Kunda
LUSAKA, Zambia (AA) – A joint team of Zambian immigration and police apprehended 14 Ethiopians who illegally entered the country hiding in containers and cabins of trucks and trailers on Tuesday, an official statement said
“The undocumented immigrants were discovered in the early hours of February. 14 at Mwaiseni Checkpoint (Isoka district bordering Zambia and Tanzania), concealed in horse cabins and improvised wooden compartment of the chassis of two Tanzanian registered trucks and trailers,” Zambian Immigration Department spokesman Namati Nshinka said in the statement.
Nshinka said the 14 Ethiopians have been apprehended, along with the truck driver, Alley Mussa Amory of Tanzanian origin, and the DAF and Scania trucks have been impounded.
“The trucks were carrying a combined total of 1,283 bales of second-hand (used) clothes destined for Lusaka. A manhunt for the driver of the Scania truck has been launched,” he added.
Zambia continues to have a high rate of illegal migration as a transit route, particularly for people trafficked from the Horn of Africa.
The majority of human trafficking cases involve victims lured to the continent's largest economy, South Africa.
In December, 27 dead and one man alive were discovered in Lusaka in a suspected human trafficking case. All of them were believed to be Ethiopians.
On Sunday, a joint team of immigration and police officers in Nakonde, also bordering Zambia and Tanzania, apprehended 16 Somalis in another suspected case of human trafficking, along with two Nakonde district health drivers who were using an ambulance to transport them.
Since then, the Southern African country has begun collaborating with neighboring countries to strengthen border security while also investigating ways to address the root causes of illegal migration.