Police and a witness say several Somali nationals have died from suffocation in a container truck in Zambia.

Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga said officials stopped the truck in Luapula province after banging sounds were heard.

Witness Humphrey Kapapula told the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation that bodies were strewn on the ground at the scene and that more than 30 frail-looking survivors said the truck had no ventilation.

The Somalis had been loaded into the truck with bags of beans and groundnuts.

A Somali government spokesman could not be reached for comment.