Twelve Iranians were charged with supporting a terrorist organization on Wednesday, a year after they were arrested in northern Mozambique’s restive Cabo Delgado province.
The Iranians are allegedly members of an international terrorist organization and were detained in Cabo Delgado in December 2019, according to the prosecutor’s office in Maputo.
There were automatic assault rifles, pistols, ammunition and other equipment on board their ship in Pemba Bay.
Earlier this week, the suspected Islamist militants beheaded more than 50 people in the same province, after the insurgents attacked several villages in the districts of Miudumbe and Macomia, killing civilians, abducting women and children and burning down homes.
Security forces in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province have been fighting Islamist militants since 2017 in an insurgency that has displaced thousands of people.
Analysts have questioned how serious the Islamic State link is, saying that the roots of the unrest may owe more to poverty and inequality than religion.
Mozambique’s security forces have been implicated in torturing some suspected militants in investigations by Amnesty International.