Conflicts & War

More than 2,000 dead after 3 years of conflict in northern Mozambique

Nairobi, Oct 7 (efe-epa).- More than 2,000 people have been killed and over 300,000 have been displaced from Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province since October 2017 when jihadist group Al-Shabaab began its campaign of terror in the country, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

“Three years after 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, truth and reparation,” Amnesty denounced in a statement.

Three years ago in Mocímboa da Praia district, members of the militia, linked to Al-Qaeda, launched its first attack, hitting government institutions, including a police station, in which two policemen died.

Since then, the violence of these armed attacks have increased, with the victims including the civilian population of this region rich in precious stones (rubies) and host to natural gas extraction projects involving large multinationals such as Italy’s Eni and the United States’ Anadarko.

According to Amnesty, in the first four months of 2020 the violent attacks perpetrated in Cabo Delgado by Al-Shabaab increased by 300 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

It added that 712,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance and over 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.

The attacks also take place amid insecurity marked by the violence of the Mozambican army, accused during its anti-terror campaign of extrajudicial executions, torture and arbitrary arrests of suspected jihadists.

“There is evidence the security forces have also committed crimes under international law and human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings,” said Muchena, who added that the Mozambican government prevents local and international journalists and researchers to document the situation without repercussion.

“Violations against the civilian population must immediately end. The Mozambican authorities must ensure no suspected perpetrator, including in the security forces, goes unpunished,” said Muchena.

Amnesty called for an independent and impartial investigation into the abuses. EFE-EPA

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