Skip to main content

At least 1 dead in second day of Mozambique riots

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Crowds are smaller than a day earlier but police continue to chase rioters
  • Police used live rounds against rioters, a local journalist says
  • At least one person died and 37 were injured
  • Mozambicans are protesting increases in the price of bread, water and other staples

(CNN) -- At least one person was killed Thursday as riots in the southern African nation of Mozambique continued into a second day, Deputy Justice Minister Alberto Nkutumula said in a televised news conference.

Another 37 people were admitted to a hospital with bullet wounds, said Evete Soares, the hospital director, on STV.

Police used live rounds and threw tear gas into crowds, according to a local journalist who saw the violence in Maputo, the nation's capital.

Residents of the neighborhood where the violence took place are outraged, and police fear a backlash, said a police source who asked not to be named because of safety concerns.

Amnesty International on Wednesday urged police not to use live ammunition to disperse violent demonstrations in the capital unless lives are at risk.

Police mostly fired into the air, but did fire live rounds into crowds when they were greatly outnumbered, said local journalist Fernando Lima. Lima saw some of the violence in person and some on video.

Crowds were smaller on Thursday than on Wednesday, he said, and protests are not as widespread.

But police continued to engage in cat-and-mouse chases with youths setting tires on fire and engaging in other disruptive acts, Lima said.

At least four -- and possibly as many as 10 -- died in rioting in Maputo on Wednesday as Mozambicans protested increases in the price of bread, water, energy and other staples.

At least 27 were wounded, the southern African nation's official news agency reported.

The exact death toll was unclear -- the news agency said other "credible sources" were reporting at least 10 people had died.

And a U.S. Embassy official in Maputo told CNN that credible sources were citing six deaths, including a child. He said that two secondary-school students were among the injured.

Police made 142 arrests, according to police spokesman Pedro Cossa, who said casualty figures were likely to rise.

Cossa said police used tear gas and rubber bullets against the rioters, but local media -- citing witnesses -- said real bullets were also used.

Three buses were burned, 32 shops were vandalized and more than five cars were burned or vandalized, Cossa added.

The price hikes are to go into effect September 6.

Prices are going up because the value of the South African rand is increasing against Mozambique's currency, said Lima, the journalist.

The violence Wednesday took place in the cities of Maputo and Matola, with the deaths occurring on the outskirts of Maputo, the Mozambique News Agency reported.

Bank and electricity company offices were vandalized, and food warehouses belonging to the Sasseka and Delta Trading distribution companies were looted, the report said.

The U.S. Embassy official, who asked not to be identified, said President Armando Guebuza -- in a nationally televised address -- appealed for calm, saying the reputation of the country was at risk, but offering no economic solutions.

He said the government is already subsidizing the prices of food goods and gas.

Minister of Interior Jose Pacheco -- during a news conference -- had called for calm and exhorted parents to control their teenagers.

The U.S. State Department urged American citizens in Mozambique to avoid all unnecessary travel and remain at their homes or hotels until further notice.

The embassy will continue to operate, but will provide only emergency American citizen services, it said Wednesday.

Journalist Shaun Bissett and CNN's Jack Maddox contributed to this report.