In response to the attack on the town of Mocimboa da Praia in Cabo Delgado in the early hours of today by members of an armed group locally known as Al-Shabaab who have since taken over the town, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa said:
“This violent escalation in Mocimboa da Praia is the culmination of a tragic failure by the Mozambican government to protect the people in this volatile area.
“For almost three years, armed groups have been attacking villagers around Cabo Delgado, causing untold human suffering without being held accountable.
“These continued attacks are compounded by the fact that the Mozambican government is prohibiting journalists, researchers and foreign observers from accessing the area to assess the situation.
“Authorities must take immediate and effective action to protect everyone in the region, including by ramping up lawful security measures, and carrying out investigations into all the recent attacks with the aim of bringing suspected perpetrators to justice.”
Killings of ordinary people by armed groups have been ongoing in Cabo Delgado since 2017. Members of a local group, known as Al-Shabab have been carrying out coordinated and simultaneous attacks against civilians and government institutions including police headquarters.
About 350 people have been killed since 2017, while more than 150,000 more have been affected by the violence, including having to flee their homes.