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Deadly Mozambique price riots enter second day

posted 2 Sep 2010, 03:10 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 2 Sep 2010, 04:04 ]

Protests against drastic rise in bread prices in Mozambique capital Maputo enter second day.

MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (SEPTEMBER 2, 2010) RTP - Demonstrators blocked roads with burning tyres and looted shops in Mozambique's capital Maputo on Thursday (September 2) as deadly riots sparked by soaring bread prices entered a second day.

On Wednesday (September 1) police and hospital sources said at least six people were killed, including two children, as police opened fire on protesters in the worst riots to hit the southern Africa country of 23 million people since 2008.

Officially, police said four people were killed, including two children.

Private television STv reported 10 deaths, about 140 arrested, 27 seriously injured and 32 shops, including banks, looted.

The rioting was prompted by a 30 percent rise in bread prices in one of the world's poorest countries, which has never fully recovered from one of Africa's bloodiest civil wars.

Home Affairs Minister Jose Pacheco said the government was trying to identify the source of text messages and emails which have been circulating since Tuesday (August 31), urging residents to join the protests.

Top police officials said live ammunition was used in some places after police ran out of rubber bullets and citizens also reported that real bullets were fired.

Residents of Mozambique say they have been hit hard by rising costs for basic necessities including bread, as wheat prices have soared around the world.

Mozambique also has suffered from the rising costs of goods imported from South Africa, whose rand currency has strongly appreciated in value.

Pacheco said the riots must stop and urged citizens to air their grievances through dialogue with the government.

"The protests are illegal and they will not contribute to efforts by Mozambicans to fight poverty," he said, referring to routine meetings between President Armando Guebuza and residents countrywide.

Guebuza on Wednesday condemned the killings and destruction of public and private property and called on Mozambicans to restore order, adding the government had made progress in implementing its strategic plan to improve food production, infrastructure and provide running water and better schools.