Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said those responsible for deadly attacks in the north of country where gangs wielding machetes attacked police and religious leaders will be “neutralised”.
Violence first broke out in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado last October, with local residents reporting gangs attacking police stations, torching villages and executing religious leaders.
“We will not rest until these perpetrators are neutralised and held accountable, so our defence and security forces are on the ground, firm and relentless,” Nyusi said in a statement.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) last week estimated at least 39 people were killed and more than a thousand displaced since May. The United States and Britain advised citizens to steer clear of the area.
Nyusi said some alleged group members had been captured by security forces but did not provide further details.
US petroleum company Anadarko Petroleum is starting to develop a $15 billion liquefied natural gas project in the region and placed staff there under “lock-down”.
Six men wielding machetes killed at least seven people and injured four others this month in the predominantly Muslim region.
Ten people were beheaded last month with local media reporting at least two were children.
Mozambique has not been a focal point of Islamist militant activity and police are reluctant to ascribe the attacks to Islamists.
About 30% of Mozambique’s 30 million people are Roman Catholics with 18% Muslim.