MAPUTO, April 23- More than 1,500 Mozambicans have fled the anti-foreigner violence in South Africa using their own resources, Government Spokesperson and Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide says.
In addition, 107 Mozambicans had returned to Mozambique from Durban on April 18 in buses made available by the government, he told the media after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) here Tuesday.
Saide said a further 400 Mozambicans were expected to return to the country on Tuesday and Wednesday “and all the conditions have been established to receive them decently, and then send them on to their places of origin”.
Saide added that the government, through its diplomatic and consular missions in South Africa, was monitoring the situation and was assisting those Mozambicans who had taken refuge in accommodation centres, as well as repatriating those who wished to return to Mozambique.
The government had sent Deputy Interior Minister Jose Coimbra to South Africa, where he was able to speak to the authorities and check on the conditions in the accommodation centres.
Saide said the Council of Ministers had instructed the provincial governments and the country’s relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), “to guarantee due follow-up and ensure rapid integration of those returning”.
The government was also appealing for “calm and serenity” among Mozambicans, rather than any retaliation, “since a cycle of violence does not help matters. Violence generates violence”.
The Council of Ministers also received a report on the state of health of former President Joaquim Chissano, who is currently hospitalized in South Africa. While on a flight from Ghana to Johannesburg on April 13, Chissano fell ill and was taken to the Pretoria Military Hospital.
Saide said Chissano was recovering and his current state “is satisfactory”. He denied the malicious mobile phone text messages which are circulating claiming that Chissano is seriously ill.
The government sent Health Minister Nazira Abdula to visit Chissano, and photos of the Minister with a smiling Chissano have appeared on social media.