More than 50 people were brutally killed and beheaded in the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, by the Ansar al-Sunna al-Shabaab group affiliated with ISCAP (Islamic State of Central Africa), according to police and local agencies.
“From Friday to Sunday, the terrorists set fire to houses, shot, abducted and rounded up those who were fleeing and turned a soccer field into an execution field,” said Bernardino Rafael, commander general of the Mozambique police.
The Cabo Delgado region is unfortunately not new to such attacks. On April 24, the government admitted for the first time that there was a jihadist presence here, although the attacks in this region bordering Tanzania began in October 2017, resulting in the death of 2,000 civilians and more than 250,000 refugees during these three years, according to the United Nations.
The fighting between al-Shabaab and the National Defense Forces saw a surge in hostilities on August 14, with the conquest by jihadist militiamen of the port of Mocimboa da Praia, near a rich natural gas site managed by the French company Total.
While the international community and neighboring countries are calling for a more energetic response from the armed forces to fight the jihadists, the NGOs are denouncing “a blind militarization,” to the point of exacerbating the resentment of the population, living in misery while witnessing the country’s wealth being hoarded.
In September, Amnesty International asked the government to open an independent investigation after the “torture and other grave violations committed by security forces in Cabo Delgado.” The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, said he was “shocked over recent reports of massacres … including the reported beheading and kidnapping of women and children,” and asked the government in Maputo for explanations.
As Jean-Christophe Servant from Le Monde Diplomatique stressed in an interview with TV5 Monde, “the jihadist attacks in Europe, mainly by lone wolves, are a small part of the ongoing fight. In Africa, ISIS and al-Qaeda are fighting for economic and social dominance in the Sahel area and in central and eastern Africa, which have become the new frontiers of jihadism.”
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