Buses, airlines cancel trips to and from protesting Zimbabwe

January 14, 2019. Angry protesters barricaded the main route to Zimbabwe's capital Harare from Epworth township in protest at the steep rise in fuel prices. Picture: AFP/ Jekesai NJIKIZANA

The neighbouring state has been in uproar since the fuel price more than doubled unexpectedly.

The International Cross-Border Traders Association (ICTA) on Monday said it had withdrawn all buses travelling to different parts of Zimbabwe from neighbouring countries as protests spread in the country.

Budget airline Fastjet also announced on Twitter it was suspending flights to and from Harare and would allow customers to reschedule their flights to a later date.

“As the International Cross-Border Traders Association we have withdrawn all buses . There will be no loading of buses till further notice,” ICTA president Denis Juru told African News Agency (ANA) in Pretoria.

On Monday, the military and police were engaged in running battles with protesters in different parts of the small Southern African country.

The country’s main cities — Harare and Bulawayo — were the worst affected, as angry protesters reacted to the weekend more than doubling of fuel prices by looting several businesses, burning tyres and barricading major roads.

Over the weekend, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a more than 100 percent rise in the price of petrol and diesel, a move he said would improve supplies, but a decision which attracted harsh criticism from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), civil society and rights groups.

Earlier, ICTA issued a warning, advising its members and travellers in and around Zimbabwe “to avoid Zimbabwean borders and unnecessary movements”.

“There’s a stay away under way in Zimbabwe that we need to assess as an association if it is safe for travellers to embark on to their cross-border trips,” said Juru.

“Stay away and be safe. Further information is available at our website.”

– African News Agency (ANA)

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