from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – THE beheading of 50 residents by an Islamist extremist group – Ansar al-Sunna in northern Mozambique has triggered anger globally.
The civilians were reportedly murdered during a series of attacks on civilians between November between 6 and 8.
Police reportedly found the dismembered bodies of at least five adults and fifteen boys scattered across a forest clearing in Miudumbe, a region in the worst-affected province of Cabo Delgado.
The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect quoted witnesses as reporting that the fighters herded people onto a local football field to kill them after they had tried to flee from the group.
The Commonwealth denounced the spiraling terror attacks.
“I am deeply shocked and saddened by recent reports of massacres by armed groups in several villages in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique,” said Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, said.
“I condemn these abhorrent and brutal attacks on innocent civilians and urge that an investigation be undertaken and those responsible held to account.”
More than 2 200 civilian shave been killed during the conflict dating back to 2017.
Scotland said these attacks and reports of the kidnapping of women, young people and children were an affront to the fundamental principles of human rights and to our shared humanity.
“The Commonwealth and all our member states stand in solidarity with those affected and their families,” she said.
“The Commonwealth stands ready to provide any support we can to the people and government of Mozambique as they strive to uphold Commonwealth values of respect for human rights while also combatting such hateful incidents of violent extremism.”
The Commonwealth is a political association of 54 member states, nearly all former British territories.
Mozambique was the first country to be admitted to the Commonwealth without any former colonial or constitutional links with Britain.
The former Portuguese colony has been a member since 1990, which was 15 years after independence.
– CAJ News