from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – THE video showing soldiers burning corpses offers a horrific glimpse to the atrocities occurring away from the attention of international media in an allegedly forgotten war in northern Mozambique.
The video circulated on social media purportedly shows soldiers throwing dead bodies onto a pile of burning household items in the volatile province of Cabo Delgado.
“Tragically it appears that incidents of violence against civilians, extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law are still occurring, as previously documented by Amnesty International,” said activist Tigere Chagutah.
He is Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
The video, which Amnesty International said it reviewed, gained traction on social media this week.
The incident is believed to have occurred in November 2022 in Cabo Delgado.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) regional force, which includes troops from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), has been fighting armed rebel groups since 2021 alongside Mozambique government forces.
The video also depicts at least one South African National Defence Force (SANDF) member, who is seen watching and filming the event.
SANDF this week released a statement acknowledging its member(s) were present.
“The burning of what appears to be dead bodies by soldiers is deplorable and is likely a violation of international humanitarian law, which prohibits the mutilation of corpses and requires that the dead be disposed of in a respectful manner,” Chagutah said.
He said Mozambican authorities and SAMIM must launch investigations into the circumstances of the killings and the burning of the bodies.
“Anyone against whom there is sufficient admissible evidence should be prosecuted in fair trials. Security in Cabo Delgado must not come at the cost of human rights violations,” Chagutah said.
SANDF stated that an investigation is underway.
“The Force Commander of SAMIM is conducting an investigation surrounding the involvement of its members in this despicable act.”
“The SANDF does not condone in any way the acts committed in the video and those who are found guilty of such acts will be brought to book,” SANDF stated.
– CAJ News