Mozambique, two children killed

Armed militants on horseback Armed militants on horseback Photo by shura72 on on iStock

19 June

Two children die following an attack by Islamic militants in Mozambique

On Sunday June 13th, two 15-year-old boys were beheaded in the province of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, at the hands of local insurgents belonging to Al-Shabab (arabic for “the youth”), a group associated with ISIL with no relations to the similarly named Somali group. According to the independent newspaper "Carta de Mocambique", two adults were also killed along with the adolescents ; reportedly, the victims were part of a group that left the resettlement city of Quitunda to search for food. Chance Briggs, the director of Save the Children Country in Mozambique, declared that his organization was disgusted by the incident, and that no child should be targeted in the course of armed conflicts. The episode has aroused fears that similar acts may be perpetrated again in the future.

According to experts, this act was part of a series of insurgent actions involved in a psychological warfare strategy aimed at the victims’ parents. Indeed, the group involved had already carried out similar atrocious crimes towards the beginning of this year: Save the Children reports that in March, insurgents in Mozambique beheaded other minors with the aim to spread terror in the north of the country.  Children as young as 11 years old are said to have been targeted. The attacks and the insurrections that persist in Cabo Delgado have led to the deaths of thousands and the displacement of  700,000 people : about 364,000 children were forced to leave their homes to find refuge in the south of the region. Tensions began to rise at the end of 2017 when police stations, located in the district of Mocimboa da Praia, were attacked by insurgents linked to the Islamic state. Soon after these events, similar situations began to occur in the northern part of Cabo Delgado, particularly in the cities of Macomia, Palma, and Nangade.  Then, in the course of the attacks that took place last March, the terrorists launched several raids in the north-eastern parts of Palma by looting buildings and beheading civilians. The declared objective of Al-Shabaab is to succeed in establishing an Islamic caliphate in the area of Cabo Delgado through incursions, attacks, and violence of all kinds.

In an official statement, Save the Children expressed their condolences and regrets to the families of the victims in Cabo Delgado. Earlier this year, the United States announced that it would  contribute to the protection of the country by sending special forces operatives for several months to assist in the training of Mozambican marines; the US support is also set to involve the transfer of  medical equipment and communication tools,  all of which are aimed at supporting Mozambique in its fight against extremist insurgents.

 

Sources:

Mozambican militants behead 2 children in Cabo Delgado, says NGO | Nation

Children as young as 11 beheaded in Mozambique: NGO | Mozambique News | Al Jazeera

Statement on the beheading of two children in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

 

Author: Sara Taherzadeh; Editor: Maxime Grenier

Read 35 times