(Johannesburg) –Mozambique’s government should urgently investigate alleged summary executions, sexual abuse, and ill-treatment by its armed forces in Tete province. At least 6,000 people have fled to Malawi since army operations began in October 2015, to disarm militias linked to Mozambique’s main opposition party, the Mozambique National Resistance, or RENAMO.
Several dozen asylum seekers at the makeshift Kapise camp in Malawi told Human Rights Watch in mid-February 2016 that they fled army abuses and fear returning home. They described seeing soldiers in uniform, and some driving army vehicles summarily execute their husbands and other villagers, or tie them up and take them away to undisclosed locations. In many of cases, soldiers torched homes, granaries, and cornfields, accusing local residents of feeding and supporting the militias.
“The Mozambique army cannot use the excuse of disarming RENAMO militias to commit abuses against them or local residents,” said Zenaida Machado, Mozambique researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The government should urgently launch an investigation into reports of abuses and ensure any disarmament operation is carried out lawfully.”