from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THE eleven Ethiopian youths that survived a trip that left 64 people dead on the route to South Africa have been evacuated back to their country.
The migrants were found locked in a container at the back of an overloaded truck on March 24, near Tete, Mozambique after crossing over the border from Malawi.
Their journey was supposed to end in South Africa where the Ethiopians were hopeful of better opportunities in Africa’s most advanced economy.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), with the collaboration of the Ethiopian Consulate in South Africa, facilitated the survivors’ voluntary return to the East African country.
Earlier, the young men had been treated for dehydration and exhaustion.
They spent a quarantine period as part of Mozambique’s coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention measures.
Shiferaw Teklemariam, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to South Africa, condemned the prevalence of human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants to the Southern African nation.
“I salute and appreciate the police officers who intercepted the criminality at the border of Malawi and Mozambique,” the envoy said from Pretoria, South Africa.
Thousands from Ethiopia make the journey to Southern Africa each year.
They pass through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique before reaching South Africa.
Smugglers transport the migrants through the route.
The migrants reportedly pay between US$2 500 and $60 000 for the journey.
Smugglers usually abandon the migrants upon crossing the Ethiopian border.
Besides deaths in unauthorized vehicles, some migrants die trying to outrun border security checkpoints, while many others languish in detention in foreign countries.
– CAJ News