Malawi Police in Karonga on Wednesday recovered 48 bodies out of 60 Ethiopians and Somalis who drowned in Lake Malawi on Monday after the boat they were sailing in to illegally get into Malawi had sunk due to overloading, local media announced on Thursday.One of Malawi's leading private radios, Zodiak, said the authorities in Karonga, a district up north, were arranging to bury the 48 bodies into a mass grave while the search for the rest who were believed to be dead as well was still underway.
But the boat was overloaded and it sunk into Lake Malawi on Monday, bringing all the 60 on board down to the lake bed.
Late in 2011, about eight illegal immigrants of Somali and Ethiopian nationalities drowned on the lake in Nkhotakota district under similar circumstances.Almost every month in Malawi hundreds of illegal immigrants from Somalia and Ethiopia cross Lake Malawi into Malawi through lakeshore districts of Karonga, Nkhatabay and Nkhotakota.
Most of the immigrants got apprehended while some successfully make their way to South Africa, using Malawi as a conduit.Recently, courts in Karonga and Nkhotakota respectively found over 190 Somalis and Ethiopians guilty and repatriated them to their respective countries.
The illegal immigrants claimed they flee their countries due to war, hunger, unemployment and abject poverty among other reasons.