Prisoners are tied with their arms behind their back, beaten by soldiers.
The Mozambique government must launch an independent and impartial investigation into torture and other grave violations committed by security forces in Cabo Delgado, Amnesty International said yesterday after verifying gruesome footage from the region showing crimes against detainees.
The videos and pictures allegedly show the attempted beheading, torture and other ill-treatment of prisoners; the dismemberment of alleged opposition fighters; possible extrajudicial executions; and also the transport and discarding of an oversized number of corpses into apparent mass graves.
In recent weeks, there has been a rise in violence in northern Mozambique, where fighters from a gaggle known locally as al-Shabaab are attacking members of the safety forces and villagers.
“The horrific videos and photos we analysed are evidence of the intense human rights violations and shocking violence that has been going down in Cabo Delgado, faraway from the international spotlight,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s regional director for east and southern Africa.
The soldiers committing the atrocities within the videos analysed by Amnesty International were allegedly wearing the uniforms of the Mozambique Armed Defence Forces (FADM) and therefore the Mozambique Rapid Intervention Police (PIR).
In several videos, the soldiers talk over with their captives as alShabaab, Arabic for “the youth”, a standard local name for the Islamist armed group in Cabo Delgado, instead of the group of the identical name in Somalia.
Amnesty International researchers obtained five videos and three photos from sources within Mozambique. The digital materials were verified by the organisation’s Crisis Evidence Lab.
Soldiers within the videos wear two different uniforms. Most wear the green and brown “lizard” camouflage, black boots, tan web gear and yellow-and-black shoulder tabs of FADM, while others wear the lighter green uniform of the PIR.
The soldiers carry older Kalashnikov rifles and wear flak jacket-style cataphract, like that worn by FADM within the region.
In addition, they speak Portuguese and Shangaan, a language from southern Mozambique. They also reference recent fighting in Mocimboa da Praia, making it highly likely that the videos were filmed in or near Cabo Delgado within the half of 2020. However, Amnesty International has thus far been unable to independently geolocate the precise location of the filming.
Four videos depict the torture of detainees. In three videos, there are three victims. The three prisoners are tied with their arms behind their back then kicked and beaten with sticks or rifles by several soldiers.
“The cruelty and inhumanity displayed within the videos has no place in any society of order, rule of law and human rights,” said Muchena. –