Mozambique: United Nations urged to investigate killings of civilians


​​​Amnesty International has called on the United Nations (UN) to investigate the beheading of dozens of people in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, saying the UN is so far acting the same way it did during the Rwandan genocide.

Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa, made the call Wednesday following reports of escalating violence in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, where armed groups have killed dozens of people, including by beheading them, in recent weeks.

He noted that for too long the international community has ignored the horrors unfolding in Cabo Delgado.

He also expressed concern that Amnesty’s calls for accountability for appalling crimes under international law and human rights violations including torture, dismemberment and extrajudicial executions, have been ignored by the Mozambican authorities.

Mwananyanda said: “Meanwhile people in the region continue to live in fear of attacks by armed opposition groups, as well as Mozambican armed forces who have committed human rights violations in the name of combatting militants.

“The world cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the suffering of civilians in Cabo Delgado. After the Rwandan genocide, the UN called its own failure to act a ‘sin of omission’; what we are seeing in Mozambique is a sign that history is repeating itself and civilians are once again paying the price for the international community’s inaction. We call on the UN to act by urgently creating an independent international mechanism to address the ongoing crimes under international law and human rights violations.”

In the past few weeks, the escalation of violence between security forces and the armed group locally known as “al-Shabab” in northern Mozambique has resulted in the killings of dozens of people and caused untold suffering to civilians.

In October, militia groups composed of army veterans stepped up counterattacks against al-Shabab positions in the Miudumbe and Mueda districts, killing over 200 members of the group.