Suspected extremists hack seven to death in Mozambique

Soldiers from the Mozambican army patrol the streets of Mocimboa da Praia, in the province of Cabo Delgado, following an upsurge in extremist attacks. (AFP)
Updated 05 June 2018
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Suspected extremists hack seven to death in Mozambique

  • Cabo Delgado province which is expected to become the center of the country’s nascent natural gas industry after several promising discoveries, has seen a number of deadly assaults on both security forces and civilians.
  • The country’s north has largely been excluded from the economic growth of the last 20 years, and the region sees itself as a neglected outpost, creating fertile ground for radical Daesh-style ideology.

MAPUTO: Suspected extremists hacked seven people to death with machetes and torched dozens of homes early Tuesday in northern Mozambique, a region that has suffered a recent spate of similar attacks, police said.
The area, Cabo Delgado province which is expected to become the center of the country’s nascent natural gas industry after several promising discoveries, has seen a number of deadly assaults on both security forces and civilians since October.
“The bandits used machetes to kill the seven persons. We think this group is likely part of the (one) that beheaded 10 (people on) May 27,” police spokesman Inacio Dina told AFP, referring to an attack last month in the same region that was also blamed on extremists.
The assailants burnt down 164 houses and destroyed four cars during the assault on the village of Naude in the Macomia district, the spokesman said of the most recent attack.
Police reinforcements had previously been sent to the region to step up security.
Dina suggested that the group might also have been linked to the nine “insurgents” killed by security forces over the weekend who were subsequently found to be carrying assault rifles and extremist tracts.
“This group is very fragmented in small groups (and) they try to resist police attacks,” he said.
The May 27 bloodshed occurred in two small villages close to the border with Tanzania and not far from Palma, a small town gearing up to be the country’s new natural gas hub in Cabo Delgado.
Two of those killed in the gruesome dawn raids were boys aged 15 and 16.
In October, armed men targeted a police station and military post in the town of Mocimboa da Praia in what was believed to be the first extremist attack on the country.
Two officers died and 14 attackers were killed.
The group, described by locals and officials as “Al-Shabab,” has no known link to the Somali extremist group of the same name.
In the following weeks, at least 300 Muslims, including Tanzanians, were arrested and several mosques were forced to close.
The increase in attacks in the north of the country could pose a problem for Mozambique, which holds general elections next year and hopes to cash in on the recently discovered gas reserves.
The vast gas deposits discovered off the shores of Palma could transform the impoverished country’s economy.
Experts predict that Mozambique could even become the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.
But the country’s north has largely been excluded from the economic growth of the last 20 years, and the region sees itself as a neglected outpost, creating fertile ground for radical Daesh-style ideology.
Mozambique last month passed an anti-terrorism law that punishes terrorism activity with more than 40 years in jail.


Dutch arrest suspected Syrian militant commander: prosecutor

Updated 21 May 2019
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Dutch arrest suspected Syrian militant commander: prosecutor

THE HAGUE: Dutch police on Tuesday arrested a Syrian asylum seeker suspected of committing war crimes as a commander of the Al-Nusra Front militant group, prosecutors said.
The 47-year-old man, identified only by his nom de guerre Abu Khuder, was detained in Kapelle in the southwestern Netherlands, the Dutch federal prosecutor said.
“The man is accused of participating in the armed struggle as a commander or a terrorist Jabhat Al-Nusra battalion,” the prosecutor said in a statement, using another name for the Al-Nusra front.
It said he was held “on suspicion of committing war crimes and terrorist crimes in Syria,” adding that he had fought in a battalion known as Ghuraba’a Mohassan (Strangers of Mohassan).
The arrested Syrian has lived in the Netherlands since 2014 and was granted a temporary asylum permit, the statement said.
Police searched the suspect’s house and recovered documents, a computer and a smartphone, it said, adding that he was due to appear in court on Friday.
He was arrested based on information provided by German police, where six homes belonging to suspected members of the same battalion were raided, it added.
German police “provided witness testimonies against the suspect,” the Dutch prosecutor said.
The Al-Nusra Front was allied to Al-Qaeda but renounced ties to the group. Under a new name, it now dominates the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), which holds administrative control of the Syrian city of Idlib.
The arrest of the Syrian comes as the Netherlands grapples with the problem of what to do with home-grown radicals who went to fight in Syria.
At least 315 people left the Netherlands since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011 to join militant groups, according to Dutch media reports quoting official figures.
Around 85 have been killed in the fighting and 55 have returned.
The issue was highlighted in March when the Dutch husband of a British-born teenager who fled to join Daesh said he wanted her to live with him in the Netherlands along with their child.