Media reports are that more than 50 people have been beheaded in northern Mozambique by militant Islamists.
The reports say that the militants converted a football pitch in a village into an “execution ground”, where they undertook the decapitations and also chopped up some of the dead people.
Unconfirmed reports by the state media say that the beheadings took place in at least two nearby villages.
These beheading atrocities are the latest in a series of gruesome attacks carried out by the Islamist militants in the gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado since 2017.
To date, almost 2,000 killings have been recorded with about 430,000 being rendered homeless.
The militant group are suspected to be linked to the Islamic State (IS) group, giving it a foothold in the southern African country.
The group has exploited the high levels of poverty and unemployment in the region to recruit young people into their fold, so that they fight to establish Islamic rule in the province.
Majority of the locals have been vocal about the insignificant benefits they have derived from the province’s ruby and natural gas industries.
The latest attack has been the most devastating, leaving most people shocked as they are now calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
According to reports by state-owned Mozambique News Agency, witnesses say that the gunmen were heard chanting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”, in English), as they fired shots, and set homes ablaze as they raided a village called Nanjaba on Friday night.
Two people were beheaded in the village and several women abducted, the news agency added.
A separate group of militants also carried out another devastating attack on Muatide village, where they more than 50 people have been reported to have been beheaded by the state news agency.
The militants caught villagers who tried to flee the violence and had them taken to the local football pitch where they were beheaded and their bodies chopped to pieces. The atrocities are reported to have taken place between Friday night and Sunday.
Mozambique’s government has appealed for international help to curb the insurgency, saying its troops need specialised training.
Earlier in April this year, in excess of 50 people were beheaded or shot dead during an attack on a village in Cabo Delgado and earlier this month, nine people were reported to have been again beheaded in the same province.
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