Motorcycle taxi drivers clashed with security forces in Nacala (Nampula province) on Wednesday, April 8, leading to the arrest of at least 11 protesters. The unrest occurred after authorities tried to ban the taxis due to the proximity between the passenger and the taxi driver and the consequential risk of transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). On Wednesday morning (local time), police seized two motorcycles, causing drivers to react angrily. Protesters erected barricades and blocked roads in the city, and some shops were reportedly looted. Security forces responded with tear gas and fired into the air to disperse crowds. The ban was lifted on Thursday morning, April 9, on the condition that drivers and passengers both wear facemasks.
Further protests are possible in the area over the near term. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Individuals are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
The security environment in Nigeria is complex and is particularly challenging in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to such areas.