Mozambique villagers 'massacred' by Islamists

Soldiers patrolling in MozambiqueImage copyright

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Troops have been battling to defeat the militants in Mozambique

Islamist militants have killed around 52 people in northern Mozambique, police say.

The police say that the villagers in Cabo Delgado province were “massacred”, with some beheaded, after some people refused to be recruited into the militant group.

Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced during the three-year insurgency in Cabo Delgado.

No group has said it was behind the attack.

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A militant group calling itself al-Shabab operates in the area and last month briefly seized control of the town of Mocimboa de Praia.

It is unclear whether it is linked to the significantly larger Somali movement of the same name.

The Islamic State Central Africa Province (Iscap), affiliated with the Islamic State group, has said it was behind some previous attacks in Mozambique.

The attack took place in the village of Xitaxi in Muidumbe district on 7 April but only came to light late on Tuesday.

“Recently, the criminals tried to recruit young people to join their ranks, but there was resistance on the part of the youths. This provoked the anger of the criminals, who indiscriminately killed – cruelly and diabolically – 52 young people,” police spokesman Orlando Mudumane told state media.

Cabo Delgado is one of Mozambique’s poorest regions, but is rich in untapped mineral resources.

In 2010, Mozambique discovered huge gas reserves in Rovuma Basin, off the Indian Ocean coast of Cabo Delgado.

Last Wednesday, national police commander Bernardino Rafael denied that any parts of the province were under the control of insurgents, reports Reuters news agency.


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