Malawi’s government has vowed to act after the discovery of a mass grave where the bodies of 25 immigrants thought to be Ethiopians were found.
The bodies were exhumed in a Mzimba district forest after young boys reportedly detected a foul smell.
The next day four more bodies were found 5 km (3 miles) from the grave making a total of 29. Some reports say they were on their way to South Africa.
The government of Malawi has condemned the incident and said the police was investigating and that those involved would be caught. A post-mortem will be undertaken to establish the causes of death.
Reports say another group of 72 suspected migrants from Ethiopia were arrested after police were tipped off about their presence in another government forest reserve.
Ten Malawians were also arrested on suspicion of being part of a syndicate involved in trafficking the Ethiopians. They have not yet appeared in court.
Malawi is faced with the problem of human trafficking in which organised syndicates traffic men, women and children from East African countries including Ethiopia and Somalia. From Malawi they are further trafficked to South Africa, Europe and the United States.
Syndicates are thought to involve influential Malawians. In 2020, the Malawi High Court sentenced former Home Affairs Minister Uladi Mussa and an immigration officer to five years imprisonment for helping non-Malawians obtain Malawi passports.
Civil society organisations in Malawi are also calling on authorities to conduct a swift and thorough forensic investigation.