As the Mozambican security forces carry out operations against armed opposition groups in the country’s northernmost province Cabo Delgado, Amnesty International calls on the government to protect civilians and ensure all necessary measures are taken to prevent crimes or human rights violations that have marred past military raids.
President Filipe Nyusi has earlier announced that security forces may have killed the leaders of the main armed opposition group that has terrorized communities in Cabo Delgado for three years, killing hundreds of people and causing hundreds of thousands of others to flee their homes.
“The people of Cabo Delgado have suffered horrific violence at the hands of armed opposition groups, which have gone on the rampage killing, beheading and dismembering their victims, looting and burning property,” said DeproseMuchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
“The main priority of the Mozambican authorities must be to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility of these crimes to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts,” Muchena continued.
But he cautioned that “security forces should not use these operations as a pretext to seek revenge for attacks on villagers, but rather to ensure that this group of fighters are held accountable for crimes under international law and human rights violations in Cabo Delgado.”
Mozambican security forces recently launched an operation to flush out armed opposition groups that have committed crimes under international law and human rights violations against civilians in Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique.
Killings of civilians by armed groups have been ongoing in Cabo Delgado since 2017. Members of a local opposition group have been carrying out coordinated and simultaneous attacks against civilians and government institutions, including police headquarters.
Hundreds of people have been killed since 2017, while more than 150,000 have been affected by the violence, including having to flee their homes. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)