Islamic militants behead over 50 at football pitch in Mozambique, abduct women, several boys among victims

Militant Islamists beheaded more than 50 people in northern Mozambique, turning a football pitch in a village into an “execution ground”.

Decapitated and chopped bodies of victims were the latest in a series of gruesome attacks carried out by militants in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province since 2017.

The attack is believed to be part of the growing wave of jihadist violence in Mozambique by extremists linked to ISIS.

According to BBC, who quoted state media, some (at least 15) of the victims were teenaged boys taking part in a male initiation ceremony. Reports by state-owned Mozambique News Agency also suggest that the gunmen chanted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they raided Nanjaba village and abducted some of its women.

“Police learned of the massacre committed by the insurgents through reports of people who found corpses in the woods,” an officer in the Mueda district told BBC.

“It was possible to count 20 bodies spread over an area of about 500 metres (yards),” the officer added.

“These were young people who were at an initiation rite ceremony accompanied by their advisers.”

An aid worker in Mueda said some of the boys had come from that area, confirming the massacre.

The boys’ body parts had been sent to their families for burial on Tuesday.

“Funerals were held in an environment of great pain,’ said the worker. ‘The bodies were already decomposing and couldn’t be shown to those present.”

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