Trial for suspected Islamist terrorists underway in Mozambique

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Burnt-out huts are seen at the scene of an armed attack in Chitolo village, Mozambique, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Mozambique put on Wednesday trial 189 people, including foreigners, accused of being involved in deadly Islamist attacks in a northern province.

Since October last year, more than 100 people have been killed, often by decapitation, in 40 separate attacks, in villages in Cabo Delgado – a province on the border with Tanzania where companies are developing one of the biggest gas finds in a decade.

The trial was held in the open penitentiary in Pemba, the provincial capital of Cabo Delgado, where hundreds of suspected militants including 50 from Tanzania are being detained.

The area is near one of the world’s biggest untapped offshore gas fields, and Anadarko Petroleum is seeking to raise $14 billion to $15 billion for a liquefied natural gas project in the region.

In June, President Filipe Nyusi vowed to be relentless and firm in neutralizing those responsible for the attacks.

He was quoted by state news agency AIM on Wednesday as saying he had instructed his security force in Cabo Delgado not kill them.

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