Mozambique’s defence minister said on Wednesday that a graphic video appearing to show soldiers killing a naked woman was a fake, although Amnesty International says it is consistent with rights abuses committed by the military.
The video shows men in military uniform beating a naked women, whom they accuse of involvement with an Islamist militant group, and then executing her. The government initially said they’d investigate the matter, but the defence minister now says the footage was faked.
The men who appear in the video “are not [of the Mozambique Armed Defence Force,]” stressed Jaime Neto, whose comments were broadcast on local radio.
Neto added that the people who made the video would be exposed, but didn’t extrapolate.
However in a Tuesday statement Amnesty International said “the incident is consistent with [Amnesty’s] recent findings of appalling human rights violations” in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Amnesty recently released a report detailing similar abuses, which the government have said are not perpetrated by their troops but fakes made by militants to discredit the army.
The army in gas-rich Cabo Delgado province have been fighting Islamist militants since 2017, and since then the insurgents have attacked villages and killed dozens of people. The insurgency has displaced thousands of people.
The local group pledged allegiance to Islamic State last year.
Cabo Delgado is home to a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas project by French multinational Total.
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.