Mozambique Says Islamists Executed Naked Woman in Gas Region

Mozambique rejected allegations that its army is committing atrocities against civilians in the gas-rich northern Cabo Delgado province and instead accused Islamist insurgents of trying to discredit the security forces, after a graphic video emerged that caused a public outcry.

The video, which began circulating online Monday, shows half a dozen men in military uniforms resembling those worn by Mozambique’s army as they chase a naked woman down a tarmac road and beat her with a stick. They then fire automatic weapons at her and leave her body on the road while shouting “it’s done, it’s done bro, al-Shabaab died,” in a reference to the jihadists that have waged war in the province since 2017.

“The macabre acts that have been publicized are actions of subversion aimed at pitting the people against the forces that protect them,” Interior Minister Amade Miquidade told reporters Tuesday. “There is no relationship between those images with the defense and security forces.”

Mozambique’s army has come under increasing scrutiny after Amnesty International published a report last week accusing the military of executing civilians, dumping bodies in mass graves and other gross human-rights violations. Its allegations are based on videos and photos it obtained from sources in the country.

Video Verified

Amnesty said Tuesday it has verified the video of the woman’s execution, which probably took place on Sept. 7 in the town of Awasse in the Cabo Delgado province, less than 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of the area where Total SE is building a $23 billion liquefied natural-gas project. The killing “demonstrates a repeated and unrelenting pattern of crimes being committed by the Mozambican armed forces,” the London-based group said, and called for an investigation.

The head of the Bar Association of Mozambique, Duarte Casimiro, earlier this week called for “a serious and thorough investigation to ascertain who the people are who perpetrated that act and take them to court.”

Without saying whether the men in the video are army personnel, the Ministry of Defense on Monday condemned the “barbaric” incident, saying the security forces are committed to protecting and safeguarding human rights.

“Facts of this nature should always be denounced by all living forces in society, and should be investigated to ascertain their authenticity and veracity, with a view to due accountability,” the ministry said in a statement.

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