MAPUTO, 4 May 2021 – Five people have been beheaded by Islamist militants in the village of Pangane and another area in northern Mozambique.
The assailants also raided the nearby area of Chai, abducting four people.
An unknown number of villagers were also abducted during the raid of Pangane and are being held in an unknown location.
Officials in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, told reporters Tuesday that the raids occurred last Friday, but the information was only confirmed earlier Tuesday.
International media correspondents in Maputo have said the delay in sharing information about the attacks is probably linked to the reluctance of government officials to admit that there is widespread insecurity in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado Province.
Eyewitnesses and survivors of the raid on Pangane village told officials in the nearby town of Macomia, to which they fled, that the beheadings were carried out in full view of the other villagers, with terrified villagers made to watch as victims’ throats were slit.
Members of the local militia constituted by civilians who have been provided weapons by the government to defend themselves and their communities fought back against the Islamist militants.
The assailants fell back and quickly fled from the villages, said members of the self-defense units, who are taking credit for potentially saving many lives.
Two suspected attackers were reportedly captured and taken to the police after their movements aroused suspicion, reads a report Tuesday in the independent news outlet, Mediafax.
Last March 24, Islamist militants attacked the town of Palma, forcing expatriate staff working on a multi-billion-dollar oil and gas project to evaluate.
Foreign workers on the project were besieged in a hotel and on the beach in the outskirts of the town where several people were killed and others beheaded as well.
The oil and gas project led by Total has been forced to closed down since last month’s violence.
At least 2,000 people have been killed in the violence that has rocked Cabo Delgado Province since 2017, with over 700,000 people internally displaced by the fighting.