Mozambique’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has called for a full investigation into the discovery of 13 bodies scattered in the bush in parts of the central provinces of Manica and Sofala.
The demand follows repeated denials by the Sofala provincial and Gorongosa district authorities that there is a mass grave in Gorongosa, local media reports.
The story, which was first published by a Portuguese news agency Lusa, reported that a group of peasants had found the mass grave near an illegal but abandoned gold mine.
A photo appeared on Facebook purporting to be of the Gorongosa mass grave – but the photo was fraudulent.
The grave was said to be in Canda administrative post, about 76 kilometers from the district capital, Gorongosa town.
In a statement issued a week ago by the district administrator, Manuel Jamaca, he said the authorities had investigated the story and found nothing.
He described the story as “misinformation”.
“A photo appeared on Facebook purporting to be of the Gorongosa mass grave – but the photo was fraudulent. It turned out that the photo was taken in the Philippines more than four years ago, and shows the victims of floods in that country being placed in a common grave. The photo appeared in the Portuguese press in December 2011,” he said.
He noted that the same bodies were filmed a few days ago by the independent television station in the country, STV, and had counted 13 bodies in all.
Jamaca admitted that the bodies existed, but declined to accompany reporters back to the site on the grounds that Macossa is not part of Sofala province, adding that he would need to inform the Manica provincial governor before crossing into Manica.
So far, nobody knows who the victims in Macossa are or who killed them. Nor is it clear if they were all killed at the same time.