from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – ARMED Islamist groups terrorising Mozambique have allegedly killed at least 15 civilians since the beginning of this month (March 2022).
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported a spike in abductions and destroyed homes during the insurgency in the northern Cabo Delgado province.
The organisation said the killings by the group known locally as Al-Shabab or Al-Sunna wa Jama’a (ASWJ) highlighted the need for improved civilian protection in the region.
“The violence in Nangade and other Cabo Delgado districts highlights the need for Mozambican authorities to prioritize civilian protection and safeguard livelihoods across the beleaguered province,” said Judite Adriano, HRW intern for Africa.
Adriano added “The authorities should ensure that people fleeing violence can find safe refuge with adequate access to basic services, far from areas of combat.”
HRW disclosed the 15 civilians were murdered in the villages of Malamba, Mbuidi, and Nangõmba, one kilometer away from Nangade town, the district headquarters.
In February, according to media reports, insurgents attacked at least eight villages across Cabo Delgado, completely burning down five of them.
The violence which began four years ago, has displaced more than 700 000 people.
The armed conflict between the ASWJ and the Mozambique government has exacerbated already severe food shortages in Cabo Delgado, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Government forces have also been implicated in serious abuses, including unnecessarily restricting displaced people’s movement and beating and mistreating them.
– CAJ News