‘They severed his head’: Survivors recount Mozambique attack

Mozambican Army soldiers bring down a structure torched by attackers to be rebuilt as shelter for people fleeing the recent attacks, in Naunde, northern Mozambique, on June 13, 2018. Until last week, Mozambique's northern district of Macomia was a remote and peaceful place, surrounded by dense tropical forests. Today, that tranquility has been brutally shattered and replaced by fear and suspicion. Macomia has become the latest target of a shadowy jihadist force that has terrorised the country's far north since last October, claiming more than 30 lives. In the coastal village of Naunde, seven people were hacked to death and 164 houses were set alight. / AFP PHOTO / Joaquim Nhamirre

MAPUTO- The attackers lured the victims from their homes in the dead of night by shouting “thief”, gunning down those who ventured out to intervene, decapitating them and setting one of their heads ablaze.

Survivors of the attack of what is a normal quiet corner of north Mozambique described the panic after 20 men armed with guns, machetes and knives stormed into Naunde village.

Young men living in the town responded to the disturbance but were captured and killed, said Mauricio Miranda, a village leader who survived the attack.

A witness, Narciso Cassimo, was enraged when he described the carnage, standing in front of a burnt-out shell, which was once his house,  he said, “They severed his head, stuck it on a log, roasted it with the fire from a burning car and they left it at the market.”

Mozambican Army soldiers bring down a structure torched by attackers to be rebuilt as shelter for people fleeing the recent attacks, in Naunde, northern Mozambique. (File, AFP)

Atanasio Nacir, the headteacher of the local primary school, and deputy head Issufo Amade, went straight to the villagers who had come under attack as they slept.

Nacir told AFP, “They burned the first car,”

“We stopped and started watching. They burned another house. And that is when a lady screamed at us that ‘you’d better get out because they are targeting men’,” he said.

They both fled to the nearby town of Macomia where hundreds of others have seeked refuge.

Amade said at least of the attackers, they were three white men among the attackers after being woken by the screams of a neighbour whose husband had just been killed.

Internally displaced people and residents unload a truck with goods of first necessity, food and blankets in Naunde, northern Mozambique after fleeing the recent attacks. (File, AFP)

Amade described the carnages, “We went outside to try to find that lady… and then we heard the sound of a gunshot,”

“The three men I saw were white and strong. They were carrying large backpacks. They started burning houses, went into my house, took the clothes, told my family to leave, and burned down the bathroom.”

Locals and authorities call  have called the group terrorizing the area “Al-Shabaab”, but there is no proof if it is in fact the notorious Somali group of the same name.

Photo Credit- Reuters

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