A couple of weeks ago I reported on the head-chopping mujahideen of Mozambique. The slaughter there is still going on, according to this report from the Portuguese-language Mozambican news portal Folha de Maputo. Many thanks to Gary Fouse for the translation:
Human Rights Watch says Al-Shabab targeted civilians in their homes in Palma
March 27, 2021
Human Rights Watch (HRW) appealed yesterday to the Mozambican government to take “urgent measures” to protect the population of Palma, targeted in their homes and on the streets by terrorists from Al-Shabab, who caused an indeterminate number of deaths.
Maputo: With an unknown number of people in flight since Wednesday from the town of Palma in northern Mozambique, where this Friday clashes have occurred for the third day, HRW confirms in a statement that “the Mozambican authorities must act rapidly to protect the civilians and hold perpetrators accountable for the abuses.”
“Al-Shabab fired on civilians in their homes and on the streets of Palma when they tried to flee to save their lives,” said Dewa Mavhinga, director of HRW for Southern Africa.
The attack is the most serious against the gas projects after three and a half years of the armed insurgency, from which the seat of the district had been spared up until now.
According to two sources who accompanied the operations, the shots fired in the town and its surroundings between the Mozambican forces and rebel groups continued until the end of yesterday afternoon.
Bodies of murdered adults and children are visible on the streets of Palma, said a resident of Lusa today who, together with others, fled to Quitunda, four kilometers southeast of the town, next to the gas works.
In the statement released Friday, HRW claims have contacted seven witnesses to the attacks, who also reported that corpses of the victims of the attacks are visible on the streets.
The NGO stressed that international human rights and humanitarian law applicable in Mozambique prohibit summary, extra-judicial, or arbitrary executions, torture, or other maltreatment of persons in custody.
“The Mozambican authorities must guarantee that the security forces detached to Palma respect the human rights and humanitarian law in treating everyone in their custody with humanity,” the communiqué states.
According to Mavhinga, “The horrible abuses of the armed groups represent a threat to all civilians in the region,” he said.
“The Mozambican authorities must make the restoration of security a maximum priority in the province of Cabo Delgado,” said the HRW official.
At Lusa, residents in flight said they had seen abandoned bodies of murdered adults and children, and two bank agencies destroyed, among other buildings, infrastructure, and vehicles.
Five heavy trucks used for transport from a rock quarry were also destroyed and the drivers dead. The violence is about to provoke a humanitarian crisis with almost 700,000 displaced and 2,000 dead.
Some of the incursions were claimed by the “jihadist” group, Islamic State, between June 2019 and November 2020, but the origin of the attacks remains in dispute.