Nelspruit - South African holiday-makers have been advised to exercise caution, but not to worry about travelling to Mozambique, following recent kidnappings and violence in the country.
“While South Africans are concerned with the recent armed attacks in Mozambique, the country is generally peaceful with a relatively low crime rate,” Marvin Lawack, of the SA High Commission in Maputo, told a Sapa correspondent.
Clashes between the military and Renamo militants remained confined to the Gorongosa/Save River area, far north of the main holiday destinations in southern Mozambique, he said.
Lawack advised travellers to the northern province of Sofala and Beira to exercise caution, and to fly rather than drive because of the risk of being ambushed on the roads.
Traffic police and military personnel in convoys appeared to be the target of the ambush attacks.
However, non-military people had been caught up in the crossfire, resulting in civilian injuries and deaths.
Residents of Maputo said the kidnappings there and in the Matola areas continued to frighten wealthy Mozambicans.
It had been reported that victims were only Mozambicans. However it later emerged that three Portuguese had been abducted.
It appeared that the victims' families' financial backgrounds played a role in the ransom demands.
To date, no South Africans had been affected by the unrest.
Lawack recommended that South African tourists register with Registration of South Africans Abroad (ROSA), a software programme developed by the international relations department, which allowed travellers to register their whereabouts online.
ROSA was available on the department's website.
“It is freely available to South African citizens travelling or living abroad, and assists the department in locating you during an emergency,” he said. - Sapa