Catholic Peace Foundation Raises Alarm over Extrajudicial Killings in Mozambique

The flag of Mozambique. Credit: Public Domain

Catholic peace and charity foundation, Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI), which is researching the evolution of violence in Mozambique has reported about extra-judicial killings of people suspected to be insurgents in the Southern African country.

In a report shared with ACI Africa, DHPI Director Johan Viljoen highlights a recent attack in Muidumbe, a district in Cabo Delgado by a suspected pro-government militia which, according to the Catholic peace foundation, has been accused of killing people on mere suspicion that they are insurgents.

“Militia loyal to the government have claimed victory in the capturing and killing of four young men suspected to be insurgents,” Mr. Viljoen says in the October 15 report.

He adds, “The attack, on 7 October 2021, in Muatide, Muidumbe District, was precipitated by a tip-off received from another young person, which led the militia to be suspicious of the four and further detain them.”

Mr. Viljoen says that upon their detainment, the militia claimed they found Mozambican military uniforms in their bags, and deciding that was enough proof of guilt, unceremoniously executed them.


The DHPI Director describes the October 7 “incident of extra-judicial killing” as an indication of “the brazen impunity” with which the pro-government militias are accused of operating under, with multiple reports of detainments, torture and summary executions.

Mr. Viljoen warns that if untamed, the government militias may heighten killings especially in the province of Cabo Delgado and thwart efforts to restore peace in the Mozambican Province that has been experiencing violence since 2017.

“With more people returning to their homes and cities, and relative peace prevailing, the government may become tacitly more reliant on these fringe groups, which could lead to further incidences of violence. In that case, there would be even less accountability by the militias, and greater opportunity for them to act with impunity,” the official of DHPI, an initiative of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) says.

Providing an overall situation of the country in the report shared with ACI Africa, Mr. Viljoen says, “In Mozambique there have not been many reports of atrocities committed by government or Rwandese soldiers recently. There is however a disturbing new trend of summary executions being conducted by pro-government militias.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.