Mozambican militants behead 2 children in Cabo Delgado, says NGO

Cabo Delgado

 Women carry buckets at the 25 de Junio camp for the displaced people in Metuge on December 9, 2020 where over 16.000 displaced from the northern Cabo Delgado area are now sheltered. 

Photo credit: Alfredo Zuniga | AFP

Mozambican militants have beheaded two more children in Cabo Delgado Province, raising fears that there could be another round of such heinous crimes.

UK Charity group Save the Children said on Friday it was shocked to learn that two boys, both aged 15, had on Sunday last week been beheaded near Palma, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

The boys were killed along with two adults, according to a report in Thursday’s issue of the independent newspaper “Carta de Mocambique”, the British charity group reported.

“According to the paper’s sources, the children were part of a group of 15 people who had set out from the resettlement town of Quitunda, about 15 kilometres from Palma, in search of food”.

“We are appalled and disgusted at this senseless crime. Children should never be a target in conflict,"said Save the Children Country Director in Mozambique Chance Briggs.

Save the Children opened programmes in Mozambique in 1986 at the height of the civil war.

“These were two teenagers with their lives ahead of them, and yet they were killed while trying to meet their most basic needs, seeking food. Our hearts go out to their family and friends as they mourn this loss.”

Officials say at least 364,000 children have been forced to flee their homes and are now seeking shelter in displacement camps or in crowded homes in the southern part of the region.

The militant group had beheaded other children earlier in the year in what experts assessed could be the group’s psychological warfare targeting parents.

In March, Save the Children said that Mozambican militants beheaded children to instil fear in the north of the country. The group said that children as young as 11 have been targeted by the terrorist group, known as al-Shabaab, which has no links with the Somali militants.  

Cabo Delgado, which shares a border with Tanzania, is plagued by insurgency and terror attacks that have left thousands dead and nearly 700,000 displaced.

Insecurity in the region began in October 2017 with attacks on police stations in Mocimboa da Praia District, before it spread to other districts in the northern part of Cabo Delgado, notably in Macomia, Palma and Nangade.

Islamic State-linked militants launched attacks on the northeastern coastal town of Palma on March 24, ransacked buildings and beheaded civilians.

Known locally as Al-Shabaab, but with no relation to the Somali-based terror group by the same name, the militants in Cabo Delgado have launched a series of brazen raids on towns and villages in an apparent bid to establish an Islamic caliphate.