mozambique police and rioters.jpgDemonstrators blocked roads with burning tyres and looted shops in Mozambique’s capital Maputo on Thursday as deadly riots sparked by soaring bread prices entered a second day.

 

On Wednesday police and hospital sources said at least six people were killed, including two children, as police opened fire on protesters in the worst riots to hit the southern Africa country of 23 million people since 2008.

 

Officially, police said four people were killed, including two children.

 

The rioting was prompted by a 30 percent rise in bread prices.

 

Home Affairs Minister Jose Pacheco said the government was trying to identify the source of text messages and emails which have been circulating since Tuesday, urging residents to join the protests.

 

“We registered deaths, injuries, loss of property through use of stones and shooting by police using rubber bullets. There is no order to use live bullets,” Pacheco told reporters.

 

Other top police officials said live ammunition was used in some places after police ran out of rubber bullets and citizens also reported that real bullets were fired.

 

“We are working on identifying the people who organised the protests and to put the blame for the deaths and injuries as well as destruction of property.”

 

Residents of Mozambique say they have been hit hard by rising costs for basic necessities including bread, as wheat prices have soared around the world.

 

Pacheco said the riots must stop and urged citizens to air their grievances through dialogue with the government.

 

“The protests are illegal and they will not contribute to efforts by Mozambicans to fight poverty,” he said, referring to routine

meetings between President Armando Guebuza and residents countrywide.

President Guebuza on Wednesday condemned the killings and destruction of public and private property and called on Mozambicans to restore order, adding that the government had made progress in implementing its strategic plan to improve food production, infrastructure and provide running water and better schools.