Islamist militants have killed around 52 people in northern Mozambique Cabo Delgado province, police sourced confirmed.
The villagers in Cabo Delgado province were “massacred”, with some beheaded, after some people refused to be recruited into the militant group, police clarified.
Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced during the three-year insurgency in Cabo Delgado.
A militant group calling itself al-Shabab operates in the area and last month briefly seized control of the town of Mocimboa de Praia.
It is unclear whether it is linked to the significantly larger Somali movement of the same name.
The attack took place in the village of Xitaxi in Muidumbe district on 7 April but came to light later.
“Recently, the criminals tried to recruit young people to join their ranks, but there was resistance on the part of the youths. This provoked the anger of the criminals, who indiscriminately killed – cruelly and diabolically – 52 young people,” police spokesman Orlando Mudumane told reporters.
Cabo Delgado is one of Mozambique’s poorest regions, but is rich in untapped mineral resources.
In 2010, Mozambique discovered huge gas reserves in Rovuma Basin, off the Indian Ocean coast of Cabo Delgado.
“There is speculation that the Mozambique authorities are now highlighting the 7 April incident in order to deflect attention from what is widely considered a propaganda coup for IS, which is actively seeking to build “franchise” operations in conflict zones across Africa” analyst Andrew Harding said.
Image: fishing net, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique