from ARIMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – MOZAMBICAN authorities have been urged to protect citizens after suspected Muslim extremists reportedly took over a town north of the country.
The militants from the group known locally as Al-Shabaab laid siege on Mocimboa da Praia town in Cabo Delgado during the early hours of Monday.
They attacked barracks of the defence and security forces before hoisting their flag.
Amnesty International said this violent escalation in Mocimboa da Praia was the culmination of a tragic failure by the Mozambican government to protect the people in this volatile area.
For almost three years, armed groups have been attacking villagers around Cabo Delgado, causing massive human suffering.
The government of President Filipe Nyusi is accused of failure to hold culprits accountable.
“These continued attacks are compounded by the fact that the Mozambican government is prohibiting journalists, researchers and foreign observers from accessing the area to assess the situation,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa.
The activist said authorities must take immediate and effective action to protect everyone in the region.
Mwananyanda said the government must ramp up lawful security measures and carry out investigations into all the recent attacks with the aim of bringing suspected perpetrators to justice.
Killings of ordinary people by armed groups have been ongoing in Cabo Delgado since 2017.
Other coordinated attacks have been carried out at government institutions including police headquarters.
About 350 people have been killed since the radical Muslim extremists started while more than 150 000 others have been affected by the violence.
Most have been forced to flee their homes.
– CAJ News