Zambian police say they will increase checks of vehicles at the country’s borders following the discovery over the weekend of the bodies of 27 Ethiopian migrants.

The men – all aged between 20 and 38 – were found dumped by the side of the road on the outskirts of the Zambian capital, Lusaka.

They are thought to have suffocated whilst trying to reach South Africa.

The 27 bodies were found by residents after they were “dumped”, police said, adding they were “suspected to have died of hunger and exhaustion”.

Migrants from eastern Africa use Zambia as a transit route to South Africa, the continent’s second-biggest economy.

In October, the bodies of 30 suspected Ethiopian migrants were found in Malawi.

The UN says 12,000 migrants have been recorded as missing across Africa since 2014.