Forty-six illegal immigrants were on Wednesday confirmed dead and buried in mass graves after drowning in Lake Malawi in Karonga.
Karonga Police officer-in-charge Teresa Nankhuni confirmed the incident in an interview from Kaporo in Karonga where the mass burial ceremony took place.
Said Nankhuni: “I can confirm that illegal immigrants have died. But we are still searching [for more bodies and survivors].â€
The burial ceremony took place in Chakwera and Mponda villages in Traditional Authority Kilupulaâ€™s area.
Information indicates that on Sunday, a boat carrying the illegal immigrants from Tanzania capsized on the lake. On Monday, villagers around the area saw a boat floating upside down. When they checked the scene, they found a dead body which was taken to Karonga District Hospital.
On Tuesday, another dead body was seen floating on the lake and, after consultations among themselves, the villagers decided to bury him.
However, on Wednesday, several bodies were floating on Lake Malawi and police picked them up. But since the bodies were decomposed, they were buried instantly.
Only six immigrants survived the ordeal and are at Karonga Police Station. It is suspected the number of victims could be higher as two Malawians, who are reportedly owners of the boat, and two illegal immigrants, are still missing.
Illegal immigrants usually make it into Malawi through uncharted routes and make their way by paying some police officers to pass through roadblocks in Karonga.