Mozambique to cut prices after mass arrests of rioters
Mozambique will reverse an increase in the price of bread and other essentials that sparked the violent riots that left 13 dead and more than 400 injured last week. Police have arrested 286 people for the unrest, authorities said on Tuesday.
Following an emergency cabinet meeting, Mozambique's planning minister Aiuba Cuereneia said Tuesday that recent increase in the price of bread will be reversed, while water and electricity subsidies will be restored.
Five days earlier, the government had proclaimed that the price increases were "irreversible".
The country had seen a 30-per-cent price increase for bread and double-digit increase for water and energy. Nearly three-quarters of the average household budget in Mozambique is spent on food.
Cuereneia also announced a series of austerity measures, freezing salaries for the heads of state firms and cutting government officials' travel budgets.
He also insisted that government would investigate allegations of use of excessive force by police during the protests last week.
Some 286 people have been arrested in connection with the riots, national police said in a statement, without specifying what charges they would face.
"The majority of those responsible for these acts were young people of both sexes, the unemployed, individuals who appeared to have consumed alcohol and informal vendors,” the statement said.
Five police were among the 403 people injured in the clashes, the statement said.
At least 66 stores and three banks were vandalised during the unrest.
In 2008, the prices of wheat, corn, oil and rice peaked on international markets sparking food riots in a dozen of import-dependent countries such as Mozambique.
In the meantime, the metical, the Mozambican currency, has fallen 43 per cent against the South African rand since this time last year.