Mozambique on Tuesday condemned the apparent brutal execution of a naked woman by men in army uniforms and ordered an investigation.
In a video of unknown origin that went viral on social media this month, armed men in military uniforms chase and beat the naked woman, whom they accuse of working for Islamic State jihadist affiliate Al-Shabab. The men then execute the woman via gunfire.
No one in the video has yet been identified. Amnesty International appears to have verified that the video is of a recent event in Mozambique, calling for an investigation to confirm the circumstances surrounding it.
Mozambique’s defense ministry announced an investigation into the “horrifying” images and vowed to “ascertain their authenticity.”
“The defense and security forces reiterate that they do not agree with any barbaric act that substantiates the violation of human rights,” the ministry said in a statement.
The execution took place as Mozambique continues to battle Al-Shabab, an Islamic terrorist organization that has carried out multiple terrorist attacks in recent years within the northern Cabo Delgado region. The country’s military has recently come under both domestic and international criticism amid allegations that they are also responsible for egregious human rights violations, typically by torturing suspects in custody.
WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE
Reuters reported that Zenaida Machado, from the New York-based group Human Rights Watch, also called for an investigation into the incident and warned that, if committed by soldiers, “sowed distrust in the population and strengthened insurgents’ narrative.”
“It is the worst case of betrayal,” she stated, adding that “frightened people should not run from insurgents only to find themselves in danger from those supposed to keep them safe.”
Last week, Amnesty International claimed to have verified videos showing beheadings, torture, and other abuses by members of the Mozambique Armed Defense Forces (FADM) and the Mozambique Rapid Intervention Police (PIR)., including the dismemberment of opposition fighters and extrajudicial executions. Military officials denied the allegations, accusing jihadists of staging the violence by impersonating government troops.
“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,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.
“This behavior flouts the fundamental principles of humanity. The abuses attributed to the group known as Al-Shabaab can never justify further violations by the security forces of Mozambique,” she continued. “The government of Mozambique must now order a swift, transparent, and impartial investigation to bring all those responsible for such crimes to justice in fair trials.”