International Rights Group Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Mozambique’s government forces, private military contractors, and armed groups of committing war crimes against civilians in the troubled northern Cabo Delgado province reported Africa News.
“All three have committed war crimes, causing the deaths of hundreds of civilians,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.
In a report published on Tuesday, the watchdog said serious violations of international humanitarian law by all parties resulted in widespread death, destruction, and a humanitarian crisis that has caused more than half-a-million people to flee.
The watchdog said the security forces blindfolded and shot several men in Quissanga before dumping their bodies in a mass grave.
The report, titled ‘What I Saw Is Death’: War Crimes in Mozambique’s Forgotten Cape’, said that after that attack, the government security forces took women to be raped at the nearby base they had set up, where they also detained, beat, and summarily executed more men.
It claims that the Mozambique government hired a South African private military company, Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) after it did not succeed in its quest to regain control of the region. The mercenaries have fired guns from helicopters and dropped hand grenades from helicopters into crowds.
“According to 53 witnesses who spoke to the watchdog, DAG operatives have fired machine guns from helicopters and dropped hand grenades indiscriminately into crowds of people, as well as repeatedly fired at civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and homes,” the rights group said.
Amnesty International urged the Mozambique government and international organizations to investigate potential war crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.
The rights group called the government to conduct independent, impartial, thorough, and transparent investigations into all credible allegations of torture and mistreatment of detainees, executions and the mutilation of bodies, and other serious war crimes by army soldiers and police in Cabo Delgado.