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Mozambique to register cellphone users

MAPUTO, Sept 21 – Mozambique plans to register non-contract mobile phone users, weeks after an anonymous viral text message campaign fuelled riots that killed 14, independent media reported Tuesday.

The new law would improve security for internet banking and prevent crime, communications minister Paulo Zucula told O Pais newspaper.

"The main idea is to educate citizens about the way to use, with responsibility, the services put in place by the State," he said.

The registration of non-contract clients was part of a communications strategy approved by the government in 2006, Americo Muchanga, director general of the Mozambican National Communications Institute, told the mediaFax newsheet.

Text message services were temporarily shut down earlier this month after the deadly riots which the government blamed on text messages urging protests against bread price increases by up to 22 percent.

Only about a quarter of Mozambique\’s 20 million people have cell phones, most of whom non-contract users, and the number has been growing by about 50 percent a year since 2004, according to the UN\’s International Telecommunication Union.

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