More than 50 people have been beheaded and dismembered in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province by ISIL-linked militants over the past few days, state media said on 9 November. Witnesses told local media that militants turned a football pitch in a village into an “execution ground”, where they decapitated and chopped bodies. The militants are linked to the Islamic State (IS) group, trying to gain a foothold in southern Africa.
Cabo Delgado province is in the grips of a rebellion for around three years, fueled by perceived neglect of the region by the national government. The terror group has exploited poverty and unemployment to recruit disillusioned youth in their fight to establish Islamic caliphate in the region. The gunmen chanted “Allahu Akbar”, fired shots, and set homes alight when they raided Nanjaba village on Friday night, the state-owned Mozambique News Agency quoted survivors as saying.
In October, the European Union offered Mozambique support in tackling a wave of militant attacks in the country’s north by rebels with links to Islamic State, the EU’s ambassador to the southern African nation said.
The rebel attacks in Cabo Delgado province date back to 2017 but the violence has gathered pace this year with insurgents seizing important towns for brief periods and hitting military and other strategic targets. Mozambique had asked the EU for help in training its armed forces to battle the insurgency, which has raised fears for stability and security in southern Africa.
Earlier in April, the militants shot dead and beheaded more than 50 youths when they allegedly refused to join them. Human rights groups say government security forces have committed massive human rights violations in the province as they try to put down the rebellion.
At least 2,000 people are killed and over 400,000 people have been rendered homeless in the conflict-stricken province mainly dominated by Muslims.
The militants linked to IS in the region have given the terror group a foothold to operate in Southern Africa. In its aim to establish Islamic rule in the region, the group has exploited unemployment and poverty to recruit youth in its ranks.
Locals residents in the province complain that despite its gas and ruby industries, they have benefitted little from them.
The latest attack is said to be the worst in the series of attacks by the terrorists. The ferocity of the attacks has shocked the people, who have called for the peaceful resolution of the conflict.