ISIS-linked militants have beheaded more than 50 people and chopped up the bodies of the victims in a brutal attack in northern Mozambique, according to reports.
The militants turned a football pitch into an “execution ground” as they decapitated and chopped up the bodies of villagers in the Cabo Delgado province, state media reports.
Scores of women and children were abducted in Nanjaba village, while more than 50 were killed in a gruesome attack on Muatide village, the BBC reports.
“They burned the houses then went after the population who had fled to the woods and started with their macabre actions,” Bernardino Rafael, commander-general of Mozambique’s police said during a media briefing on Monday, according to Al Jazeera.
Villagers who tried to flee were reportedly taken to a nearby football pitch where they were beheaded and chopped to pieces in the atrocity which from lasted from Friday night to Sunday.
Jihadists have wreaked havoc in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province over the past three years, ravaging villages and towns as part of a campaign to establish an Islamist caliphate.
TERROR IN THE WOODS
The militants have stepped up their offensive in recent months and violently seized swathes of territory, terrorising citizens in the process.
Counter-terrorism and organised crime expert David Otto told the Daily Star said: “State forces and suspected spies have been captured and beheaded by the jihadist group to send a warning message.
“Women have been the subject of targeted kidnapping. Sources say the jihadists keep the women as sex slaves.”
He added: “The complex terrain of deep forest and easy access to the Indian ocean makes the province of Cabo Delgado and the district of Mocimboa da Praia perfect for any armed group to hide.
“They can launch hit and run ambush tactics, escape to the high-sea to neighbouring states and have an ideal logistics route for smuggling of illegal goods, arms and ammunition.”
Last week, suspected militants beheaded at least 20 men and teenagers in a male initiation ceremony in the Muidumbe district.
The dismembered bodies of at least five adults and 15 boys were found.
“Police learnt of the massacre committed by the insurgents through reports of people who found corpses in the woods,” an officer said.
“It was possible to count 20 bodies spread over an area of about 500 metres. These were young people who were at an initiation rite ceremony accompanied by their advisers.”
In April, jihadists shot dead and beheaded more than 50 youths for allegedly refusing to join their ranks.
In March, they occupied the centre of Mocimboa da Praia and set fire to government buildings.
In another town they launched an attack on a police station and raised the ISIS flag.
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Source: The Sun