The Zambia Government has repatriated to Ethiopia the remains of the 19 Ethiopians who died along the pedicle road in a suspected smuggling case.
According to a statement made available to the media by Department of Immigration public relations person, Mr Namati H. Nshinka , the repatriation exercise took place on Saturday, 19th June, 2016, and was done in collaboration with the Ethiopian Government through their Embassy in Harare and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). So far eighteen (18) of the Nineteen (19) bodies have been claimed by their families. The 76 surviving Ethiopians are still in a safe shelter within Lusaka and arrangements for their repatriation to Ethiopia have reached an advanced stage.
On Wednesday, 15th June, 2016, the Department of Immigration received information that a Zambian Truck Registration number AFB 496 belonging to BM Transport of Ndola had been intercepted by Congolese Officials about 8 km from Mwenda Border Control in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Border corresponding to Chembe Border Control on the Zambian side) along the Pedicle road. Alerted by motorists who heard banging sounds emanating from the container of the truck, the Congolese Officials stopped the truck and discovered 95 Ethiopians behind bags of fish and beans. Eleven (11) of the Ninety Five (95) Ethiopians were reported deceased at the time the container was opened, this number rose to Nineteen (19). They died of suffocation due to poor ventilation in the container which was laden with bags of fish and beans.
The driver of the truck, by the name of Edward Simwaba (29), a Zambians of Masala in Ndola, his co-driver, Kesta Kanyanta (37), also of Masala Ndola, and another named Zambian remain in the custody of the Congolese authorities.
Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration, with financial support from IOM, also successfully removed 39 Ethiopians from the Country. These are among the 40 Ethiopians pardoned by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, in commemoration of the Africa Freedom Day on 25th May, 2016. One of the 40 was not removed as he is still receiving medical treatment. The 40 had been serving prison sentences for consenting to being smuggled.