Murdered woman further proof of armed forces violations, says Amnesty

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Interior minister Amade Miquidade says investigation is underway to find who is producing ‘disinformation’ propaganda videos

Amnesty International said last night that a video of a naked woman being beaten and then shot dead by uniformed men is “further proof of human rights violations by state armed forces” in Cabo Delgado — hours after Mozambique’s interior minister accused the “terrorists” operating there of fabricating evidence of human rights abuses by government forces, to turn the Mozambican people against them.

In a statement made in front of selected journalists at the Presidency in Maputo on Tuesday afternoon, minister Amade Miquidade explained that the terrorists wear the uniforms of the Mozambican armed forces — but add particular symbols so that they can identify each other on the battlefield. When they want to make a propaganda video to damage the reputation of the government forces, he said, they remove those symbols from their uniforms.

Listen to Miquidade’s statement in full:

Amnesty International, who last week said it had analysed earlier videos and images that showed serious human rights violations being committed by state forces, said on Tuesday evening that the latest video is “yet another gruesome example of the gross human rights violations and merciless killings taking place in Cabo Delgado by the Mozambican security forces.”

The video shows a naked woman, walking on a road being beaten with a wooden stick, and then shot dead, with her naked body left on the highway. Amnesty, which identified the road as being near the town of Awasse, said that four different gunmen shot her a total of 36 times with a variety of Kalashnikov rifles and a PKM-style machine gun.

“The soldiers were wearing the uniform of the FADM [the Mozambican armed forces]. One soldier has the distinctive yellow-and-black scroll on his left shoulder. Most of the soldiers are in full uniforms, but the PKM gunner is wearing a red shirt in place of the standard camouflage one,” Amnesty said.

Miquidade said the killing was a “macabre, inhuman act”, and that Mozambique’s defence and security forces “would never do a thing like that.”

All of the woman’s attackers speak Portuguese and refer to the woman as ‘Al-Shabaab’, the commonly used name for the armed insurgent group that has been carrying out attacks in Cabo Delgado since October 2017. Amnesty cites a local military source as trying to justify the killing by claiming the woman had cast a spell on the Mozambican Army, and then refused to show them the insurgents’ hideout.

“The Mozambique authorities must investigate these shocking latest crimes, and ensure that all those suspected of criminal responsibility are brought to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

Miquidade said investigations were underway to find out who is making these videos, which he described as “disinformation”, and where. He said the “macabre acts” shown are “acts of subversion” aimed at pitting the Mozambican people against the defence and security forces.

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