Tanzania: 42 Immigrants Suffocate in a Truck

Original Story Nation online 27th June 2012 here and  here

Forty-two immigrants were found dead in a truck in central Tanzania after suffocating, Deputy Interior Minister Pereira Silima said on Tuesday.

“They died of suffocation and had no food,” Silima said.

“There were more than 100 people in the truck,” a local administration official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“After he had learnt of the dead bodies, the driver abandoned the truck and ran away.”

The bodies were discovered in the truck in Dodoma province, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) west of Dar es Salaam.

In December, 20 Somali immigrants were found dead in Tanzania.

Foreign ministry spokesman Isaac Nantanga said at the time that an increasing number of Ethiopians and Somalis were crossing the country to make their way to South Africa, the continent’s top economy.

Tanzanian police Wednesday were questioning 74 migrants who survived suffocation in a truck where 42 fellow travellers perished, Deputy Interior Minister Pereira Silima said.

“Police and immigration officials are questioning the survivors to establish their identity including names and nationality,” Silima told AFP.

It was initially reported the migrants were from Malawi, but officials said that they were suspected of coming from the Horn of Africa region to the north, and were on their way southwards to Malawi.

“Preliminary reports have it that the immigrants were destined to Malawi,” Silima said. Police said the truck driver fled the vehicle after finding the dead bodies.

The bodies were discovered on Tuesday in the truck in Dodoma province, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) west of Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam.

In December, 20 Somali migrants were found dead in Tanzania.

Foreign ministry spokesman Isaac Nantanga said at the time that an increasing number of Ethiopians and Somalis were crossing the country to make their way to South Africa, the continent’s richest country.