Islamist terrorists on Friday night attacked Nanjaba village, about 16 kilometres from Macomia town, in Cabo Delgado, the northernmost province of Mozambique, reports Monday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”.
According to local media reports, the militants turned a football pitch in a village into an “execution ground”, where they decapitated and chopped bodies.
Sources in Macomia, who received some of the villagers fleeing from the terrorists, said the bandits reached Nanjaba at about 22.00. They fired into the air, shouting “God is great!”, and then started burning down the houses, reported Agência de Informação de Moçambique (AIM), a national news agency in Mozambique.
Quoting Faque Adimo, who lives in Macomia town, the AIM reported that his mother arrived from Nanjaba on Sunday morning. “She said they burnt down everything, including the local crèches. There’s nothing left in Nanjaba”.
The “Mediafax” sources said the jihadists beheaded two people and kidnapped six women. Although the village is not far from the district capital, there was no apparent reaction from the considerable contingent of the defence and security forces stationed in Macomia town.
According to the state media reports, several people were also beheaded in another village.
The reports suggest that the terrorists are linked to the Islamic State (IS) group. The gunmen chanted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”, in English), fired shots, and set homes alight when they raided Nanjaba village on Friday night, the state-owned Mozambique News Agency quoted survivors as saying.
The beheadings are the latest in a series of gruesome attacks that the militants have carried out in gas-rich Cabo Delgado province since 2017. In April, more than 50 people were beheaded or shot dead in a village in Cabo Delgado and earlier this month, nine people were beheaded in the same province.
As per the 2017 census, Christians made up 59.2% of Mozambique’s population and Muslims comprised 18.9% of the population. 7.3% of the people held other beliefs, mainly animism, and 13.9% had no religious beliefs.