Dodoma — Some 43 foreign nationals believed to be of Somali and Ethiopian origin have been found dead in a truck that they were reportedly travelling in from Arusha to Mbeya through Dodoma.
Initial reports have indicated that they succumbed to death due to suffocation inside the cargo truck in Chitego village in Kongwa District, roughly two kilometres from Kiteto District.
A total of 113 people were said to be travelling in the truck. A Kongwa district official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not the official spokesperson, confirmed the deaths.
The source said it was the driver of the vehicle who first discovered that the passengers had died after he heard noises and decided to open the truck's window.
"After he had learnt of the dead, the driver abandoned the truck," the source said. Bodies of the dead were taken to Kiteto District Hospital for preservation while the remaining 70 people who survived, some in critical condition, were being questioned at Kiteto police station.
The Dodoma Regional Security and Defence Council, led by the Regional Commissioner, Dr Rehema Nchimbi, and Regional Police Commander Zelothe Stephen rushed to the scene of the tragedy to assess the situation. Efforts to get comments from them were not fruitful by the time we went to press on Tuesday.
Contacted for comment, the police force spokesperson, Ms Advera Senso, admitted to have heard the news. The police publicist too, said she had failed to communicate with RPC Zelothe due to poor communication at the scene of the tragedy.