Travellers to Maputo 'must be alert'

2010-09-07 15:06

Johannesburg - International SOS on Tuesday warned travellers to Mozambique to remain alert following violent unrest in the country's capital, Maputo, over food and fuel price hikes.

"Expatriates, business and leisure travellers alike should be aware of the current risks of travelling to Mozambique and have contingency plans in place," said International SOS regional managing director Ian Cornish.

International SOS is a healthcare and security services company.

Cornish said in a statement that although authorities appeared to have regained control of the situation, public frustration was likely to persist and further disturbances could not be ruled out.

"The government of Mozambique has reportedly indicated that the price hikes will not be reversed."

He advised that although travel to Maputo could continue, travellers should minimise unnecessary movement in the capital while the situation remained tense.

"Violence can recur at a moment's notice. Tensions are still heightened, there is still a significant security force presence on the streets and further public disorder cannot be discounted.

"Up to this point, our clients in Mozambique have been well cared for. We continue to monitor the situation closely and report on developments as they occur."

Protest locations

International SOS members were advised to access the company's website for information and avoid public gatherings or protest locations in particular.

People scheduled to fly from Maputo should contact the relevant airline for the latest information on flight schedules and stay in their accommodation if their flights were not confirmed, Cornish said.

They should also not travel on the airport road, Avenida de Mocambique, unless it was confirmed that the road was clear.

"Those scheduled to fly to Maputo should contact their airline prior to departure and ensure that they have appropriate meet and greet services on arrival," he said.

Police in Mozambique have reportedly arrested 286 people for the violent protests against rising prices that left 13 dead and more than 400 injured during three days of unrest last week.

Sixty-six stores were also looted and three banks vandalised during the unrest, which paralysed Maputo on Wednesday and Thursday and spread to several other cities in the centre and north.