Mozambique’s armed forces torture detainees and have discarded a large number of bodies in apparent mass graves as they fight an insurgency linked to Islamic State in an area rich in natural gas, Amnesty International said.
The London-based organization said in a statement on its website Wednesday that it has verified “gruesome footage” showing crimes against detainees in the northern Cabo Delgado province, and called for an independent investigation into the alleged abuses.
Orlando Mudumane, a police spokesman, declined to comment and referred queries to the government. A government spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.
“The horrific videos and photos we analyzed are evidence of the serious human-rights violations and shocking violence that has been taking place in Cabo Delgado, away from the international spotlight,” Deprose Muchena, Amnesty’s regional director for East and Southern Africa, said in the statement.
More than 1,500 people have died since violence erupted in northern Mozambique three years ago, and at least 250,000 have fled their homes. Government forces are trying to win back control from the insurgents of the port town of Mocimboa da Praia, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from where companies including Total SE plan to liquefy offshore natural-gas reserves for export.