Angry mob killed three Red Cross volunteers holding them responsible for infection of water sources. Two policemen who tried to protect the volunteers also fell to the mob's fury.
The Red Cross said Friday that it was suspending its relief work in the Mongincual district in the northern province of Nampulla after the lynching.
AdvertisementNearly 100 people have died in a cholera outbreak in the former Portugese colony since October. Nampula province has recorded more than 20 deaths.
The attacks in Mongincual began when a rumour spread that the Red Cross and local authorities were infecting wells and fountains with cholera. They were, in fact, disinfecting the water with chlorine.
But chlorine in Portuese is cloro. So as panic spread, somebody got the words mixed up and and took out their wrath over an inept administration on the hapless Red Cross volunteers and the policemen.
Two injured cops told Mozambican media that two of their colleagues were killed when a group of five policemen intervened to try to halt the attacks on the aid workers.
The Red Cross said the violence was continuing and that most of the Red Cross volunteers had been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in the local administration building.
Apart from suffering several cholera deaths people in Mongincual are also experiencing severe hunger after being forced to flee their homes to higher ground during seasonal flooding.
Food is scarce in the relocation camps. Some people have taken to eating venomous plants that cause diarrhoea and other diseases. The Red Cross is one of the agencies involved in feeding the flood victims, DPA reported.