More SADC migrants perish on Southern Corridor


Ethiopian migrants psuffocate enroute to South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AT least 37 migrants were killed or disappeared in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) during typically illegal border crossings in 2022.

They are among the 750 that have reportedly died since 2014.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) documented the deaths in the region, which is part of the Southern Corridor.

A majority of the 37 deaths (29) occurred in the last quarter of 2022.

Out of this total recorded, 89 percent were identified as males while the rest do not have known demographic information.

IOM reports that in terms of the cause of death, it is unknown for 29 out of the 37 recorded, while six recorded deaths were caused by drowning, and one death each caused by sickness/lack of access to adequate healthcare and violence.

“It is imperative to highlight some tragic incidents recorded in 2022 which rekindled stakeholder and policy interest in missing migrants’ issues in the Southern Africa region,” IOM stated in its report.

In October, the Malawian authorities uncovered about 30 bodies from a mass grave believed to be Ethiopians who had immigrated irregularly.

In December, the bodies of 27 people, believed to be migrants from Ethiopia, were found by the roadside in Ngwerere area north of Zambia’s capital Lusaka, likely to have suffocated to death during transit.

The tragedy came less than two months after the bodies of 30 Ethiopian migrants were also discovered in a mass grave in neighbouring Malawi.

IOM has meanwhile reported on the Southern Corridor a newly-identified crossing that includes migrants from East and Horn of Africa, and elsewhere, who transit through Tanzania and countries in the Indian Ocean, specifically Comoros, as they attempt to reach Mayotte, an overseas region of France.

Current data shows IOM that the crossing is growing in popularity but it remains understudied.

In January 2023, some 30 stranded migrants were identified in the Moheli, an autonomous island that forms part of the Union of the Comoros.

Irregular migrants in Southern Africa and along the routes of the Indian Ocean Commission are exposed to a series of risks, including natural hazards, utilization of unsafe means of transportation, exploitation and abuses at different stages of their migratory journeys.

Some of these migrants have been victims of drowning due to capsizing of unregistered and rickety boats, used to cross rivers.

Episodes of crocodile attacks on migrants crossing flooded rivers have also been widely cited.

Migrants also cross natural parks like the Kruger National Park in South Africa along their migratory journeys as these represent plots of lands whose vastity is believed to favour escaping from authorities patrolling from Zimbabwe to South Africa.

Migrants are occasionally attacked by wild animals while crossing through these parks.

Moreover, the popular crossing area between Beitbridge in Zimbabwe and Musina in South Africa has been cited as a dangerous one as migrants have been threatened and sometimes fatally attacked by crocodiles in the Limpopo River.

Additionally, armed robbery and assaults are not uncommon in the Beitbridge area.

– CAJ News








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