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Mozambique: Live ammunition must be used only as last resort, warns Amnesty

Amnesty International has urged Mozambique’s police not to use live ammunition to disperse violent demonstrations in the capital Maputo unless lives are at risk.

Thirteen people are reported to have been killed in recent clashes (1 to 4 September) between police and demonstrators who were protesting against the rising price of bread and other commodities in the country.

Amnesty International’s Mozambique Researcher Muluka-Anne Miti said:

“While we recognise that the police are trying to contain a violent protest, live ammunition - which amounts to lethal force - should not be used except when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.”

During the protests, Amnesty urged the Mozambique police authorities to ensure that non-lethal force was used to control the situation and disperse the demonstrators.

A recent report by Amnesty International revealed that at least 46 people were unlawfully killed by the police in Mozambique between January 2006 and the end of 2009.

Muluka-Anne Miti continued:

“The government must conduct an impartial and independent investigation by the circumstances surrounding recent deaths, and if people were killed unlawfully prosecute those responsible.”

Despite repeated requests, the authorities in Mozambique have provided Amnesty with very little information into investigations into police killings.  Amnesty has been told that in some instances investigations were not carried out into deaths because the killings were presumed to be lawful.

International standards require an effective investigation be carried out into all cases of death or serious injury as a result of the use of force or firearms by the police.

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