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Children Advocacy Group Calls Out Mozambique

Children as young as 11 are being beheaded in Mozambique, Britain-based aid group Save the Children said Tuesday, as part of an Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands and forced many magnitudes more from their homes. Save the Children said it had spoken to displaced families who described “horrifying scenes” of murder, including mothers whose young sons were killed. While beheadings have always been a hallmark of the attacks, throughout 2020 the insurgents began regularly engaging the military to capture and hold key towns. Brutality also continued, with mass killings including the murder of about 52 people at once in the village of Xitaxi in April. Altogether almost 2,700 people on all sides have died in the violence, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a consultancy that tracks political violence. Almost 670,000 people have been displaced, Save the Children said. The United States last week declared the Mozambique group a foreign terrorist organization over its links to Islamic State, saying the group reportedly pledged allegiance to it as early as 2018. Islamic State claimed its first attack in Cabo Delgado in June 2019. The U.S. embassy in Mozambique said Monday that U.S. special forces will train Mozambican marines for two months, with the country also providing medical and communications equipment, to help Mozambique combat the insurgency.