The Citizen (KZN)
Torture sparks outrage
GRUESOME VIDEOS: CALL TO PROBE CRIMES AGAINST DETAINEES
Prisoners are tied with their arms behind their back, beaten by soldiers.
The Mozambique government must launch an independent and impartial investigation into torture and other grave violations committed by security forces in Cabo Delgado, Amnesty International said yesterday after verifying gruesome footage from the region showing crimes against detainees.
The videos and pictures allegedly show the attempted beheading, torture and other ill-treatment of prisoners; the dismemberment of alleged opposition fighters; possible extrajudicial executions; and the transport and discarding of a large number of corpses into apparent mass graves.
In recent weeks, there has been an increase in violence in northern Mozambique, where fighters from a group known locally as al-Shabaab have been attacking members of the security forces and villagers.
“The horrific videos and photos we analysed are evidence of the serious human rights violations and shocking violence that has been taking place in Cabo Delgado, away from the international spotlight,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s regional director for east and southern Africa.
The soldiers committing the atrocities in the videos analysed by Amnesty International were allegedly wearing the uniforms of the Mozambique Armed Defence Forces (FADM) and the Mozambique Rapid Intervention Police (PIR).
In several videos, the soldiers refer to their captives as alShabaab, Arabic for “the youth”, a common local name for the Islamist armed group in Cabo Delgado, rather than the group of the same name in Somalia.
Amnesty International researchers obtained five videos and three photos from sources within Mozambique. The digital materials were verified by the organisation’s Crisis Evidence Lab.
Soldiers in the videos wear two different uniforms. Most wear the green and brown “lizard” camouflage, black boots, tan web gear and yellow-and-black shoulder tabs of FADM, while others wear the lighter green uniform of the PIR.
The soldiers carry older Kalashnikov rifles and wear flak jacket-style body armour, like that worn by FADM in the region.
In addition, they speak Portuguese and Shangaan, a language from southern Mozambique. They also reference recent fighting in Mocimboa da Praia, making it highly likely that the videos were filmed in or near Cabo Delgado in the first half of 2020. However, Amnesty International has so far been unable to independently geolocate the precise location of the filming.
Four videos depict the torture of detainees. In three videos, there are three victims. The three prisoners are tied with their arms behind their back and then kicked and beaten with sticks or rifles by several soldiers.
“The cruelty and inhumanity displayed in the videos has no place in any society of order, rule of law and human rights,” said Muchena. –