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Human rights groups are demanding an independent investigation into apparent military abuses in Mozambique, after videos circulated recently showing men in state military uniforms executing a civilian and torturing suspected members of an Islamist militia in the country’s restive province of Cabo Delgado. There are fears that the images could stoke local grievances and generate support for the militants. Officials from Mozambique’s government have accused the militia of shooting the footage to undermine the military in Cabo Delgado.
Fighting between the Islamist insurgents, known locally as al-Shabab, and the military began nearly three years ago and has killed more than 1,500 people, displacing hundreds of thousands more. It has also disrupted foreign-backed projects to tap natural gas deposits in an impoverished region whose residents largely lack access to health and education services. The insurgency appears to be an outgrowth of those socioeconomic grievances, as Hilary Matfess and Alexander Noyes explained in a June WPR briefing.