Monday February 06, 2023

Suspected militants behead 10 in Mozambique

May 30, 2018

MAPUTO: Ten people, some of them children, were beheaded in a village in northern Mozambique, in a weekend attack blamed on suspected militants, local sources said on Tuesday.

The pre-dawn attack on Sunday occurred in Monjane, a village close to the border with Tanzania and not far from Palma, a small town gearing up to be the country´s new natural gas hub in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

"We were informed about this tragedy," Palma´s administrator David Machimbuko told AFP, whose account was also confirmed by a local resident, who blamed militants. Mozambique´s state broadcaster also reported on "10 persons decapitated" in the Palma area.

Police were expected to give a news conference later on Tuesday. Cabo Delgado has seen a number of attacks by suspected militants since October. One of the victims of the latest attack was the leader of Monjane village, a local resident said, without giving his name for fear of reprisals.

"They targeted the chief as he had been providing information to the police about the location of al-Shabaab in the forests," he told AFP, referring to an armed group believed responsible for a deadly October attack on a police station and military post in the town of Mocimboa da Praia.

Two officers died and 14 attackers were killed then in what was believed to be the first militant attack on the country. The group has no known link to the Somali militant group of the same name. In the following weeks, at least 300 Muslims, including Tanzanians, were arrested and several mosques forced to close.

Alex Vines, a specialist analyst on Mozambique for the London-based Chatham House told AFP that the "new attacks are unsurprising and a reminder of the seriousness of the situation". "A number of independent assessments of the situation in Cabo Delgado conducted over the last three months have concluded that the security situation (there) remains fragile and continued attacks probable," he said.

The attackers on Monjane approached the village from a nearby forest. Police were called but "arrived very late and the attackers were already gone. Nothing was stolen," a local source said.