IOM Shocked by Discovery of at Least 25 People Believed to be Migrants in Mass Grave in Malawi

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) expresses profound sadness and concern at the deaths of at least 25 people believed to be migrants found in a mass grave in Mzimba, Malawi, on Tuesday (18.10).  

The migrants’ nationalities and the circumstances of their deaths are under investigation. Malawi is a country of transit for migrants from the Horn of Africa travelling along what is known as the Southern Route from as far north as Ethiopia in a bid to reach South Africa in search of employment.  

Irregular migration along the Southern Route facilitated by an intricate network of smugglers and traffickers is fraught with danger. Migrants are often subject to detention, violence, exploitation abuse and even death. In March 2020 for example, the bodies of 64 Ethiopian men were discovered asphyxiated in a sealed shipping container on the back of a truck in Mozambique.  

This latest tragedy highlights the urgent need to address the challenges of irregular migration along the Southern Route and the pursuit by countries in the region of sustainable solutions for migrants in line with the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  

IOM offers its condolences to the families of the deceased and calls on governments to ensure the safety and protection of migrants, regardless of their status and across all stages of their journeys.  


For more information, please contact:

Safa Msehli, +41 79 403 5526,
Paul Dillon, +41 79 636 9874,