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Soldiers burning corpses: Amnesty denounces "forgotten" war in Mozambique

 Soldiers burning corpses: Amnesty denounces "forgotten" war in Mozambique
Illustration photo: A Rwandan police officer stands near a road sign in Palma, Cabo ...   -  
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The viral video showing soldiers throwing dead bodies onto a pile of burning household items in northern Mozambique gives just "a glimpse of what is happening far away" from view in this "forgotten war," Amnesty said Thursday.

It is the "latest evidence of atrocities committed" in the province of Cabo Delgado, which has been plagued by violence from armed jihadist groups for more than five years and where the Mozambican army has been supported since 2021 by Rwandan and neighbouring country soldiers, the NGO said in a statement.

An investigation has been opened by the regional forces deployed in Mozambique and "the culprits will be brought to justice", announced the South African army.

The images widely shared since Tuesday, which are believed to date from November, show men in military uniforms throwing bodies into a fire where at least one other body is already burning. One pours liquid on the remains. Others, including a soldier with South African insignia, watch and film the scene on a cell phone.

These images give "a glimpse of what is happening far from the attention of the international media in this forgotten war" in Cabo Delgado, a poor province bordering Tanzania, says Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty's director for Southern Africa.

READ MORE: Mozambique: investigation after video shows soldiers burning corpses

Very few international journalists are allowed to work in Mozambique and the conflict zone is difficult to access.

"It is tragic that violence against civilians, extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations (...) continue to occur" in the region, Chagutah added.

The cremation of these bodies "is deplorable and likely a violation of international humanitarian law, which prohibits the mutilation of corpses and requires that the dead be treated with respect," Chagutah added.

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