JOHANNESBURG (AP) — An international rights group on Tuesday urged Mozambique’s government to investigate claims of arbitrary executions and sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by the country’s armed forces.
At least 6,000 people have fled to neighboring Malawi trying to escape renewed violence in Mozambique, Human Rights Watch said. The rights group released a statement detailing refugees’ accounts of abuses allegedly committed by Mozambican soldiers tasked with disarming opposition fighters in the coal-rich Tete province, an opposition stronghold.
“The Mozambique army cannot use the excuse of disarming Renamo militias to commit abuses,” 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.”
After years of peace following a civil war that ended in 1992, tensions have again arisen between the governing Mozambique Liberation Front, known by its Portuguese acronym Frelimo, and the opposition Mozambican National Resistance, Renamo.
A Mozambican delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi, visited the refugee camps in Malawi earlier this month, according to Mozambican press agency AIM.
The government delegation found that Mozambicans left their homes because of the fighting and a drought conditions, and pledged assistance to the Tete region, said AIM.
LYNSEY CHUTEL, Associated Press
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