Three years since fighting began in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, victims of the conflict that has killed more than 2,000 people are no closer to justice today, Amnesty International has said. The violent attacks in Cabo Delgado by the armed group “Al-Shabaab” (no known relation to Somalia’s Al-Shabaab) grew by 300 percent in the first four months of 2020, compared to the same period last year, Amnesty said.
The violent attacks in Cabo Delgado have triggered a humanitarian crisis, with more than 300,000 internally displaced people and 712,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance, Amnesty International said.
More than 350,000 people are facing severe food insecurity, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
“This armed group is responsible for untold suffering in Cabo Delgado. They have reduced people’s homes to ashes through coordinated arson attacks, killed and beheaded civilians, looted food and property and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa. “There is evidence the security forces have also committed crimes under international law and human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings. These crimes are compounded by the fact that Mozambican authorities won’t allow local and international journalists and researchers to document this situation without repercussions.” Amnesty verified gruesome footage from the region showing attempted beheading, torture and other ill-treatment. It has verified a video showing the extrajudicial killing of an unidentified, naked, pregnant woman in Mocimboa da Praia who was attempting to flee north along the R698 road on the western side of the town of Awasse in Cabo Delgado. Men who appeared to be members of the Mozambique Defence Armed Forces (FADM) first beat her and then shot her 36 times.
Al-Shabaab’s attacks are partly motivated by grievances over the centralisation of power in the capital Maputo and the social and economic exclusion of the people of Cabo Delgado, Amnesty said.