Suspected Islamist militants beheaded dozens of people before dismembering the bodies in a barbaric assault in Mozambique. The perpetrators also allegedly abducted several women.
The remains of at least 15 boys, who were participating in a male initiation ceremony when activists struck the village of Muatide last weekend, have been found among the dead.
“The police learned of the massacre committed by the insurgents thanks to reports of people having found bodies in the woods”,said a spokesperson for the Mueda district police.
“It was possible to count 20 bodies spread over an area of approximately 500 meters.”
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The militants, who are linked to the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), reportedly raided scores of villages in the gas-rich northeastern province of Cabo Delgado over the weekend, looting them to stock up before burning houses and disappearing into the bush, kidnapping women and killing anyone who resisted.
Burials of the dead are due to take place on Tuesday.
This is the latest massacre in a wave of jihadist violence that is escalating in the East African nation, following an attack in April in which 50 young people were slaughtered and beheaded, apparently not to have joined the Islamists, who seek to establish their own caliphate. . Nine people were also beheaded in Cabo Delgado earlier this month.
More than 2,000 people have been killed since the insurgency began in 2017, while some 400,000 have been displaced by the internal conflict, including 10,000 escape to the provincial capital Pemba in the past week alone.
The Mozambican government has asked for international assistance to fight the insurgency, although human rights groups have accused government forces of their own abuses, including torture and extrajudicial killings.
The news comes amid growing concerns in Europe and Africa over the resurgence of violent Islamism in recent months, with a number of high-profile attacks on both continents.
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