A video surfaces online on social media. The footage shows four men in Mozambique, as they chase one terrified naked woman. It shows them beating her then killing her with at least 36 gunshots.
Where Did the Incident Happen?
So where did it happen? Using online technology, researchers have pinpointed the spot. Northern-Mozambique, a region consumed by fighting. On the road just outside the small town of Oasse. The billboard, trees, and the green and the white roofs confirm the location. The angle of the men’s shadows suggests April or September. The video first emerged in early September this year. It is also known that the Mozambique troop were then launching a major offensive against the insurgents. The dry grass also suggested September rather than April.
Who Are the People?
Now to the key aspect. Who are these people? The woman has yet to be identified. But from the empty road, it looks likely she was left behind when other civilians fled. As for the killers, David Matsinhe, a researcher from amnesty international, has been identified by the killers through the outfits they are wearing, which is the same outfit that the armed forces of Mozambique use. The outfits are green and brown lizard camouflage, black boots, tan web gear, and yellow and black shoulder tabs, which the shooters were also wearing. They can even be heard telling the woman that she is from Al-Shabab. Al-Shabab is a local name for the Islamist insurgents. The men’s’ accent beck up the theory they are government soldiers. In the video, the soldiers are speaking in Portuguese, with accents of the South.
“The soldiers speaking Portuguese with an accent from the South tells us that they are most likely soldiers from the army, because from what we know of the insurgents is that they speak in Kiswahili and some cases Arabic and they speak in Makua and Makonde,” Zenaida Machado, researcher, Human Rights Watch.
Mozambique: Horrors Beyond Dispute.
Local media reports have since identified a possible suspect, a soldier who may since have been killed. Mozambique’s government has given a mixed response promising an investigation. However, the government also suggesting the footage has been faked or edited by malicious people. That is possible as insurgents have been seen looting military supplies early this year and are well known for impersonating soldiers, even wearing their uniforms to infiltrate towns.
As to why any gunmen might kill and film the killing of a civilian, this video is horrific but not unique. In fact, it is extraordinary quite how many videos are now circulating on social media that have come from this corner of Mozambique. They appear to show soldiers and insurgents filming themselves as they torture and butcher people.
Mozambique: Is it for Propaganda Purposes?
Is it for propaganda purposes? The insurgents linked to the so-called Islamic-state have put out videos, presumably looking for recruits. Or is it ill-disciplined soldiers seeking to instill fear, operating in a region far from home. The bottom line is violence is growing, forcing a quarter of a million civilians to flee their homes. The stakes are high building work has already begun on a vast new project worth billion to develop this region’s off-shore gas fields. But in recent days, the insurgents have launched fresh attacks along the coast, perhaps threatening the future of those plans. So much remains a mystery in the short video, but the horrors unfolding in northern Mozambique are now beyond dispute.