Five fighters in a local militia in southern Cabo Delgado known as the Naparama, were ambushed and beheaded by insurgents on Tuesday near Nairoto in Montepuez district, Cabo Delgado province.
About 20 Naparamas were chasing the insurgents who had torn through Cabo Delgado’s southern provinces of Chiure, Namuno and Balama but were caught by surprise, carrying only bows and arrows. Five of them were unable to escape and were beheaded by the insurgents. Photos of the five decapitated bodies have circulated on social media.
The Naparamas are a local militia that drink a magic potion that they believe makes them impervious to bullets. They emerged in Namuno district in early November where they were reported to have captured several insurgents and have since recruited across Balama and Montepuez. The group has its origins in the Mozambican Civil War in the 1980s when it fought against Renamo in Nampula and Zambézia provinces.
One local source told Zitamar that the surviving Naparamas chanted a hymn at the insurgents during the attack, echoing a strategy from the civil war when they would charge at Renamo positions en masse while singing.
Online news site Pinnacle News reported that the Naparamas clashed with the insurgents in the forests when they initially crossed paths and that there were casualties on both sides, according to interviews with Naparama fighters.
The bodies of the five Naparamas slain at Nairoto have been recovered and their funerals were held yesterday.