News24

SA closes embassy in Mozambique

2010-09-01 19:27

Johannesburg - The SA government has closed its embassy in Mozambique following violent riots in the capital Maputo, the SABC reported on Wednesday.

The road to South Africa had also been closed as rioters blockaded the route and set fire to a petrol station in the Matola suburb, between Maputo and its border.

"There have been sporadic incidents of stoning and blockades of roads in the vicinity of Maputo including the airport... the embassy has been temporarily closed as a result," High Commissioner to Mozambique Dikgang Moopeloa said in a statement.

He said the N4 between Maputo and Matola should be avoided by anyone travelling into the country.

Flights into Maputo by both SAA and local airline LAN were cancelled on Wednesday. Travellers using other airlines were urged to check whether flights were still planned.

Anyone requiring further information could contact the SA High Commission in Maputo on 00-258-21-49-1614 or 00-258-21-49-0059 or the international relations and co-operation department on 012 351-1249 or 012 351-1924.

Many South Africans were reportedly unable to get to the airport.

Police in Mozambique have killed up to seven people and wounded 27 when they fired on demonstrators protesting rising prices on Wednesday.

Bread, water and electricity were among the basics which had showed price hikes following fuel price increases and the devaluation of the national currency, the metical, against the rand.

The metical was 4.3 to the rand in March, and now five.

Taxi drivers were also striking and schools were closed.

Although the centre of the city was calm, there was violence in the townships around the capital.

Hundreds of people lined the streets and police opened fire with live and rubber bullets when people started protesting.