Mozambique denies mass beheading by jihadists

The Mozambican government has denied reports of mass beheading by militant Islamists in the northern Cabo Delgado province.

The governor of the gas-rich province, Valige Tauabo, said there were no recent killings in any district of the province, contrary to reports.

He added that the last known killings by the Islamists took place on April 6.

The state media had on Tuesday reported that more than 50 people were beheaded by the militants at a football pitch in a village in Miudumbe district.

The gunmen chanted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”, in English), fired shots, and set homes alight when they raided Nanjaba village on Friday night, the state-owned Mozambique News Agency quoted survivors as saying.

Governor Tauabo said there had only been “incursions by evildoers” who were being pursued by the military.

He added that the government is concerned about the spread of armed violence in Cabo Delgado.

A simmering Islamist rebellion in a remote corner of Mozambique erupted into open warfare in recent weeks, with reports of massacres, beheadings and the brief seizure of two towns in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, writes BBC Africa correspondent Andrew Harding.

The armed men walked calmly through the long grass, skirting past a large white building, seemingly untroubled by the sound of gunfire.

Most carried automatic rifles and wore variations of what appeared to be Mozambican army uniforms. A few more shots rang out in the distance and someone shouted “Allahu Akbar” – God is the greatest – as if in reply.

The video footage, shot last month on a mobile phone in Muidumbe was powerful new evidence that a murky conflict in the northern-most region of Mozambique has now moved out into the open, in spectacular and alarming fashion.

A second video, shot a few weeks earlier, showed a dead man – apparently a policeman – lying in a pool of blood. The camera then moved over to reveal another corpse, then a third lying under a black police vehicle, then a fourth body out in the open, and finally a large pile of automatic weapons in some sort of police or military store. -BBC

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