MAPUTO, Interior Minister Jaime Basilio Monteiro has instructed the Mozambican police to stop the repugnant practice of harassing foreign tourists with excessive and endless vehicle inspections, mistreatment and extortion.

Speaking during the swearing-in of new directors of the police force and of the Mozambican National Immigration Service (SENAMI) here Monday, Monteiro urged the whole police force to rethink its policing strategies and road inspections so as not to disturb the normal flow of tourists without compromising safety.

His call arises from the recognition that sustainable exploitation of natural resources, coupled with the hospitality of the Mozambican people, can be an important source for attracting resources necessary for the country’s development.

“However, over and over again, we keep receiving complaints from foreign tourists about incorrect behaviour of our police officers. Often, these actions are recorded with audio-visual resources and then disseminated all over the world with the speed provided by communication and information technologies, creating an unfavourable image which compromise the normal flow of tourism. Therefore, it is urgent to rethink on inspection strategies to stop these cases,” stressed the minister.

Basilio added that it was the duty of the Interior Ministry to facilitate tourism. Therefore, he called for improving the standard of services provided at border posts to tourists, who deserve courtesy and respect, within the framework of migration policies and the laws in force in Mozambique.

The minister also made it a point to remind police officers that the government has chosen tourism as one of its priority areas for Mozambique’s development.

His warning comes barely a week after the suspension all police officers stationed in the tourist resort of Ponto de Ouro, in the far south of the country, after local residents accused them of extorting money from tourists.