MAPUTO, 16 March 2021 – Military authorities in Mozambique said Tuesday they have reunited three girls kidnapped by suspected jihadists to their families.
The girls, aged between nine and 13, were found abandoned in a bush in Macomia district in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado province.
The girls were found last February 11 after escaping from their captors.
State television, TVM, said the girls said they had been forced to become wives to the militants.
The overjoyed parents of the girls said they never expected to see their daughters alive again.
Armed gunmen have staged a series of attacks in the oil and gas-rich Cabo Delgado since 2017.
An estimated 2,500 people have been killed in the violence which has driven up to half a million people from their homes.
Meanwhile, the Mozambican government has said American special operation forces will spend two months training its troops to prevent the spread of Islamist militant violence in the north of the country.
The training is expected to help solve the problem the Mozambican government has been facing along with sharp criticisms from rights groups about private military companies and mercenaries committing abuses, including shooting innocent civilians.
The US embassy in Maputo has said the training will prioritize the protection of civilians and help soldiers to uphold human rights as well as international humanitarian law.
Mozambique is fighting against the establishment of a so-called Islamic State in Provincia de Cabo-Delgado.