At least 10 people were beheaded in an attack in northern Mozambique over the weekend in an area where previous Islamist attacks were reported, state Radio Mocambique said.
Police in Maputo could not immediately give details of the attack near the town of Palma, close to Mozambique’s border with Tanzania and near one of the world’s biggest untapped offshore gas fields.
“Unknown persons killed by decapitation at least 10 people in recent days in the administrative post of Olumbi, Palma district, in the north of Cabo Delgado province,” Radio Mocambique said in a brief report.
The radio station did not provide further details. Portuguese news agency Lusa, quoting national broadcaster TVM, said two children were among those beheaded but this could not be independently verified.
Palma district administrator David Machimbuko told the station authorities moved security teams to areas where further attacks were feared. Police spokesman Inacio Dina said officers were gathering information from a team dispatched to the north.
Local media reported a series of attacks by Islamists since October last year, when police stations were attacked in the predominantly Muslim north.
Mozambique has not been a focal point of Islamist militant activity in the past and police are reluctant to ascribe the attacks to Islamists.
Muslims make up about 18% of Mozambique’s population. Roman Catholics form the largest single religious grouping, with about 30% of its 30 million people.
The gas project in the Rovuma basin off the northern coast of Mozambique where oil firms are exploring. Experts say reserves are enough to supply energy to Britain, France, Germany and Italy for over 20 years.