MAPUTO, Mozambique — About 52 villagers in Mozambique’s troubled northernmost province were killed by Islamist insurgents on April 7 after they refused to be recruited to their ranks, the country’s police reported on Tuesday.
“The young men were about to be recruited but they resisted, which provoked the ire of the bandits that killed the 52 indiscriminately,” said Orlando Modumane, a police spokesman.
The killings took place in the village of Xitaxi in Muidumbe district in the province of Cabo Delgado, home to multibillion-dollar gas projects led by major oil companies like Total.
Last Wednesday, Mozambique’s national police commander, Bernardino Rafael, said no parts of the troubled province were under the control of insurgents. His comments came after an increase in the frequency of attacks in the province.
Security analysts say that in some cases insurgents have occupied parts of towns, villages or government buildings and hoisted a black-and-white flag.