Mozambique: Authorities must respect and observe human rights as they continue to pursue armed opposition groups in Cabo Delgado

Mozambican government troops must protect civilians as they carry out operations against armed opposition groups in Cabo Delgado and ensure all necessary and reasonable measures are taken to prevent  the crimes under international law or human rights violations that have marred past military raids in the northern province, Amnesty International said today.

The people of Cabo Delgado have suffered horrific violence at the hands of armed opposition groups, which have gone on the rampage killing, beheading and dismembering their victims, looting and burning property
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced that security forces may have killed the leaders of the main armed opposition group in Cabo Delgado. The group has terrorized communities in Cabo Delgado for three years, killing hundreds of people and causing hundreds of thousands of others to flee their homes.

“The people of Cabo Delgado have suffered horrific violence at the hands of armed opposition groups, which have gone on the rampage killing, beheading and dismembering their victims, looting and burning property. The main priority of the Mozambican authorities must be to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility of these crimes to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

The main priority of the Mozambican authorities must be to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility of these crimes to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts
Deprose Muchena

“Security forces should not use these operations as a pretext to seek revenge for attacks on villagers, but rather to ensure that this group of fighters are held accountable for crimes under international law and human rights violations in Cabo Delgado.”

Security forces should not use these operations as a pretext to seek revenge for attacks on villagers, but rather to ensure that this group of fighters are held accountable for crimes under international law and human rights violations in Cabo Delgado
Deprose Muchena

Mozambican security forces recently launched an operation to flush out armed opposition groups that have committed crimes under international law and human rights violations against civilians in Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique.

Background

Killings of civilians by armed groups have been ongoing in Cabo Delgado since 2017. Members of a local opposition group have been carrying out coordinated and simultaneous attacks against civilians and government institutions, including police headquarters.

Hundreds of people have been killed since 2017, while more than 150,000 have been affected by the violence, including having to flee their homes.