Bus drivers in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, stopped operations Monday after the government raised fuel prices to a record, bringing the city to a halt.
Operators are demanding the authorities allow them to increase passenger fares, state-owned Jornal de Noticias newspaper reported on its website Monday, citing a driver. Diesel prices rose 11% and gasoline by 4.4% effective July 2.
The government sent police units to the main bus terminals around Maputo and the neighboring Matola city to contain the turmoil, according to an emailed statement from the Centro Para Democracia e Desenvolvimento, a non-governmental organization based in the capital. Police fired teargas to disperse people blocking traffic at one bus station, it said.
Mozambique, the world’s third-poorest country, last saw major riots in the capital in 2010, when as many as six people died in protests that spread because of rising bread prices. Since then, the government has largely blocked demonstrations in the nation of 32 million.
The country imports all of its fuel and is nearly entirely reliant on wheat imports. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has contributed to surging inflation in Mozambique. Consumer prices rose by 9.3% in May, the fastest pace in about 5 years.
- With assistance from Matthew Hill.