Mozambique armed men beheading children, says Save the Children | Inquirer News
Close  

Mozambique armed men beheading children, says Save the Children

/ 09:22 PM March 17, 2021

JOHANNESBURG Children as young as 11 are being beheaded in Mozambique, UK-based aid group Save the Children said Tuesday, in violence that has killed thousands and displaced many more in a northern region torn by an Islamist insurgency.

Save the Children said it had spoken to displaced families who described “horrifying scenes” of murder, including mothers whose young sons were killed. In one case, the woman hid, helpless, with her three other children as her 12-year-old was murdered nearby.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We tried to escape to the woods, but they took my eldest son and beheaded him,” the 28-year-old, who Save the Children called Elsa, is quoted as saying.

“We couldn’t do anything because we would be killed, too.”

FEATURED STORIES

Another mother, a 29-year-old Save the Children calls Amelia, said her son was just 11 when he was killed by armed men.

Save the Children said it could not specify who carried out the beheading. Reuters could not immediately reach Mozambique police or government spokespeople for comment.

Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado has since 2017 been home to a festering insurgency, linked to Islamic State, that has escalated dramatically in the past year. Beheadings have been a hallmark of their attacks.

Throughout 2020 the insurgents began regularly engaging the military to capture and hold key towns. Brutality also continued, with mass killings including the murder of around 52 people at once in the village of Xitaxi in April.

Altogether almost 2,700 people on all sides have died in the violence, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a consultancy that tracks political violence. Almost 670,000 people have been displaced, Save the Children said.

The United States last week declared the Mozambique group a foreign terrorist organization over its links to Islamic State, saying the group reportedly pledged allegiance to it as early as 2018. Islamic State claimed its first attack in Cabo Delgado in June 2019.

The U.S. embassy in Mozambique on Monday said U.S. special forces will train Mozambican marines for two months, with the country also providing medical and communications equipment, to help Mozambique combat the insurgency.

ADVERTISEMENT

Amnesty International found earlier in March that war crimes were being committed by all sides in the conflict, with government forces also responsible for abuses against civilians – a charge the government has denied.

Chance Briggs, Save the Children’s country director in Mozambique, said reports of attacks on children “sicken us to our core.”

“The violence has to stop and displaced families need to be supported as they find their bearings and recover from trauma,” Briggs continued.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: beheading, child rights, Child Welfare, Children, Insurgency, IS, Mozambique, Save the Children, Terrorism, UK, Violence
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.