Islamists behead more than 50 people on a football pitch in Mozambique then chop the bodies to pieces after abducting female villagers
- Bodies of dismembered victims were found scattered across a forest clearing
- At least 15 boys were among the victims during attack on male initiation rite
- The massacre is the latest in growing wave of violence by ISIS-linked extremists
Islamist militants have beheaded more than 50 people, chopped up the bodies of victims and abducted women in a gruesome attack in Mozambique.
The bodies of dismembered victims were found scattered across a forest clearing on Monday after a football pitch was turned into an ‘execution ground’.
At least 15 boys were among the dead, and some of the victims were teenagers taking part in a male initiation ceremony, it is believed.
The attack is the latest in a growing wave of jihadist violence in Mozambique by extremists linked to ISIS.
Islamist militants in Mozambique (file photo) have beheaded more than 50 people, chopped up the bodies of victims and abducted women in a gruesome attack in Mozambique
Some of the gunmen are said to have chanted ‘Allahu Akbar’ when they raided a village and abducted some of its women, while others slaughtered victims in nearby Muatide, according to BBC News.
‘Police learned of the massacre committed by the insurgents through reports of people who found corpses in the woods,’ said an officer in the Mueda district.
‘It was possible to count 20 bodies spread over an area of about 500 metres (yards),’ he added.
‘These were young people who were at an initiation rite ceremony accompanied by their advisers.’
An aid worker in Mueda, who also declined to be named, confirmed the massacre had taken place, saying some of the boys had come from that area.
She said body parts had been sent to their families for burial on Tuesday.
‘Funerals were held in an environment of great pain,’ said the worker. ‘The bodies were already decomposing and couldn’t be shown to those present.’
Militants had attacked several nearby villages over the weekend, looting and burning down homes before retreating into surrounding thicket.
Jihadists have caused havoc in Mozambique’s northeastern Cabo Delgado province over the past three years, ravaging villages and towns as part of a campaign to establish an Islamist caliphate.
Mozambique soldiers patrol the northern town of Mocimboa da Praia before it was taken over by ISIS militants amid an ongoing insurgency
The militants have stepped up their offensive in recent months and violently seized swathes of territory, terrorising citizens in the process.
In April, jihadists shot dead and beheaded more than 50 youths for allegedly refusing to join their ranks.
The unrest has killed over 2,000 people since 2017, more than half of them civilians, according to the US-based Armed Conflict Location & Event Data group.
Over 400,000 others have been displaced by the conflict and sought refuge in nearby towns and cities.
Around 10,000 people fled to the provincial capital Pemba via boat over the past week alone, Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday, raising concerns over access to clean water and sanitation.
Little is known about Mozambique’s jihadists, who call themselves Al-Shabab – although they have no known links to the group of that name operating in Somalia.
Last year the militants pledged allegiance to ISIS.