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Naparama militia beat three election officials to death in Cabo Delgado

Members of the local militia which has been helping fight the insurgency said they thought the election officials were insurgents

A member of the Naparama, featured in a report by state broadcaster TVM in November 2022

Members of the Naparama, a local peasant militia, killed and mutilated the bodies of three election officials in Cabo Delgado province on Friday.

The Naparama beat the three officials, who worked for the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE), to death in the village of Katapua in Chiúre district and left their bodies outside the headquarters of the administrative post, according to a local source. Photos seen by Zitamar News show that the bodies were stripped naked and mutilated. The head on one body was caved in and at least one other’s genitals were cut off. 

Rádio Moçambique reported that the local Naparama confessed the murders to local authorities and that they claimed to have confused the victims for Islamic State (IS) insurgents. The STAE officials were electoral civic education officials, responsible for encouraging people to register to vote.

Cassamo Camal, the STAE director in Chiúre, said the case was being investigated by the police, according to Rádio Moçambique. 

All three victims — Guilherme Martins Afonso, 24, Rajaque Ernesto, 27, and Nelito Samuel, 36 — were residents of Chiúre district and were born in Cabo Delgado.  

Originally founded during the Mozambican Civil War in the 1980s to fight the rebel faction Renamo, the Naparama are a local militia that drink a magic potion that they believe makes them invulnerable to bullets. They took up arms against IS in November 2022 with encouragement from the ruling party Frelimo, but they have also attacked healthcare workers and burned clinics, believing them to be responsible for spreading cholera.

Up to seven Naparama were killed fighting insurgents on 2 March in Ancuabe district.

This article was produced by Zitamar News under the Cabo Ligado project, in collaboration with Mediafax and ACLED. The contents of the article are the sole responsibility of Zitamar News.