Johannesburg – The UN has expressed deep concern amid reports that around 12 bodies have been beheaded and buried in a shallow grave outside the Palma Hotel in Mozambique.
Reports of the bodies arrived the same day President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mozambique to join South African Development Community (SADC) leaders attending the extraordinary Troika summit meeting to plan how they can cope with violent attacks from insurgents.
UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said there had been reports of atrocities committed by child soldiers, alleged beheadings in attacks by non-state armed groups and clashes in the Cabo Delgado region.
“Although verifying the information has been extremely difficult, we are concerned about the situation of civilians who have fled the violence and those who remain in Palma,” said Dujarric.
He said the coastal town just south of the border with Tanzania was invaded by extremist militants on March 24, but four days ago the Mozambican military reported it had regained control.
On Thursday, SADC leaders announced that they had sent a technical team to Mozambique to fight the insurgency.
This follows a SADC Troika meeting in Maputo after the events of the past few weeks where several people have been killed.
In a statement, regional leaders also called for proportionate action against the attacks in Mozambique.
In the statement released after the extraordinary meeting of the SADC double troika, regional leaders spoke out against the attacks and called for action.
Speaking after the meeting, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said: “The summit adopted a recommendation that SADC must take responsibility in the face of the threat.”
This was after the leaders received a report on the security situation in Mozambique.
“The double troika summit led an immediate technical deployment to the Republic of Mozambique and the convening of an extraordinary meeting of the body’s ministerial committee by April 28, 2021 which will report to the extraordinary troika summit of l ‘organ on April 29,’ the statement said.
Regional leaders have also spoken out against the terrorist attacks in Mozambique.
“The Double Troika Summit received a report from the body’s troika on the security situation in Mozambique and noted with concern the acts of terrorism perpetrated against innocent civilians, women and children in some of the districts of the province of Cabo Delgado in the Republic of Mozambique; condemned the terrorist attacks in the strongest terms and affirmed that such heinous attacks could not continue without a proportionate regional response, ”the statement said.
Last weekend, Ramaphosa confirmed that he had deployed SANDF members to help repatriate South African citizens who were trapped in Mozambique.
These included the body of Adrian Nel which was killed by the insurgents.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), attacks in Palma and its surroundings uprooted many people who were taking refuge there after fleeing conflict in other parts of the province.
* Nearly 12,800 people, 43% of whom are children, have arrived in the districts of Nangade, Mueda, Montepuez and Pemba since the violence erupted
* So far in 2021, more than 500,000 people in the province have received humanitarian aid
* Insurgent attack on Palma forced at least 11,000 people to leave their homes
* More than 1,000 displaced people have been prevented from crossing the Tanzanian border
Reports of atrocities by child soldiers, suspected beheading in Moz attacks – UN
SourceReports of atrocities by child soldiers, suspected beheading in Moz attacks – UN