A viral news report by the BBC has claimed over 50 villagers have been beheaded by “militant Islamists” linked to the Islamic State in the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique.
The report, citing state media, says that a football field in the village of Muatide was turned into an execution ground. The Mozambique News Agency quoted a report by Pinnacle News, which stated that insurgents set multiple villages on fire before decapitating hundreds from Muatide village and Campo de Madjedje [While the BBC report put the toll at over 50, the Pinnacle Report said it was in hundreds]. According to the report, the militants chanted “Allahu Akbar” during their raid. Another incident saw two people beheaded in the village of Nanjaba.
Up to 2,000 people have been killed and about 430,000 have been displaced in the conflict in the region, BBC reported.
While Mozambique is a Christian majority nation, the Cabo Delgado province is predominantly Muslim. Since 2017, it has been the site of an insurgency by Ansar al-Sunna, an Islamist group linked to the Islamic State. Multiple groups of militants are believed to be active in the region, however. War on the Rocks stated that Ahlu-Sunnah Wa-Jama (ASWJ), locally known as al-Shabaab, conducted 357 attacks in northern Mozambue this year up to September alone.
UK Secretary of State Dominic Raab responded to the incident on Twitter. “The UK is appalled by reports of the beheading of dozens of civilians in Cabo Delgado province. This is part of a pattern of escalating attacks in north-east Mozambique. We remain in close contact with the Mozambican authorities to tackle the root causes of conflict.”
The violence in Mozambique has prompted thousands to flee the region. Last week, at least 40 people drowned while trying to set sail from Palma in a bid to flee extremist violence, AP reported local media as saying. The boat reportedly sank near Ibo Island after hitting some rocks. While at least 32 were saved, around 40 people drowned.