Mozambique: Defence Ministry Says Atrocities Should Be Investigated

Entering Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique.

Maputo — The Mozambican Ministry of Defence has again distanced the Defence and Security Forces from all violations of human rights, anywhere in the country, promising that it will never tolerate atrocities.

The Ministry gave this promise in a press release reacting to a sickening video, circulating on social media, showing men in military uniform murdering a naked and defenceless woman.

Three men are seen pursuing the woman down a potholed road. When they catch her they beat her severely. The woman, who is completely naked, staggers to her feet and tries to escape her tormentors. Several shots ring out as they execute her.

"That's enough", one of the men says. But the assassins continue pumping bullets into the corpse of the murdered woman.

The men are speaking Portuguese, and the video was presumably shot somewhere in Mozambique, though it is impossible to say when or where.

The Ministry release, dated Monday, just a few hours after the video began to circulate, said that the defence and security forces regard the images as "shocking, abusive, repugnant, horrifying and to be condemned".

The defence forces, it continued, "reaffirm their commitment to protect and safeguard human rights, in strict observance of the relevant national laws and of International Humanitarian Law".

The Ministry pledges that the Mozambican forces "do not tolerate any barbaric act which is a violation of human rights".

Any such violations, the release adds, "should be denounced by all live forces in society, and should be investigated to ascertain their authenticity and veracity, in order to bring the culprits to justice".

The defence and security forces "appeal for greater vigilance", the Ministry continued, "and urge the public to remain committed to the defence of the national cause, supporting and collaborating in denouncing anything which is an assault against our sovereignty".

Unlike its reaction to videos of supposed atrocities committed by Mozambican troops that were distributed earlier this month by the human rights organisation Amnesty International, the Defence Ministry does not suggest that this latest footage has been faked.

Instead, the release speaks of investigating the authenticity of the video. Since the faces of some of the men in uniform are visible, it might be possible to check whether they are members of the defence forces stationed in Cabo Delgado, where they are fighting against islamist terrorists.

Among the bodies who have called for a serious investigation are the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), and the Mozambican Bar Association (OAM).

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