Members of the Mozambican Defense and Security Forces (FDS) last week allegedly tortured three civilians, two of them to death, suspecting they were terrorists.
The incidents happened on 27 March just outside Palma, the town which was liberated last year from terrorist control by a joint Mozambican and Rwandan force.
Two young fishermen from Quissenge were reportedly blown by a strong gust of wind into a restricted area of water in the area of Milamba, near Quitunda, the village next to the Mozambique LNG project to resettle people from the project site. The fishermen were confronted by military vessels belonging to the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR). Some women who were fishing nearby claimed to witness UIR officers searching the boat and could hear the young men screaming.
According to local sources, the women alerted the local community and located the fishermen’s family in Quissenge, who then approached the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF). The Rwandans found the fishermen in a critical condition near Quitunda and took them to the local hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival.
On the same day, a young man working in the fields near Palma was reportedly accosted by FDS and tortured on the spot. A source told Zitamar that a colleague in a neighbouring field witnessed the incident and brought Rwandan forces who managed to intervene before the man was killed.
The Rwandan forces are the superior ranking officers in the area and have the power to sanction FDS units, local sources say. In August last year, a source in Quitunda claimed that locals feel more comfortable with the RDF than with FDS soldiers who allegedly steal from the local population. The RDF have vowed to take action against FDS units involved in the torture of the young men.
These incidents of arbitrary torture have reportedly caused alarm among residents in Palma, and displaced people living in Nampula are now advising the young men among them not to return there.
This article was produced by Zitamar and Mediafax under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with ACLED. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.