Police disperse rioters in new Mozambique protests

Fri Sep 3, 2010

* New outbreaks of violence, police fire rubber bullets

* Damages estimated at $3.3 million

* Seven killed, 288 injured in riots

MAPUTO, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Mozambique police fired rubber bullets and teargas at demonstrators on Friday as rioting flared in the capital following two days of protests over high bread prices that saw seven people killed and hundreds injured.

After initial calm in the capital Maputo, police said protestors began looting in the city’s outskirts and officers used rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

“Rioting has resumed on the outskirts of Maputo in Benfica and Hulene. They are trying to carry on looting. Police are firing rubber bullets and teargas to disperse them,” police spokesman Arnaldo Chefo said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The deaths in the disturbances which broke out on Wednesday included two children who were killed when police opened fire on protesters who blocked streets, set tyres alight and looted stores in the deadliest riots to hit the southern African country of 23 million since 2008.

Mozambique’s Trade and Industry Minister Antonio Fernandes estimated damage at around 122 million meticais ($3.3 million) in the southern African country where 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

“The losses from the events of Wednesday and Thursday are estimated at 122 million meticais and we registered seven deaths and 288 injuries,” Fernandes said on state-controlled Radio Mozambique.

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