The regional forces in Mozambique fighting jihadist violence have launched an investigation after a video surfaced on social networks showing soldiers throwing dead bodies on a pile of burning rubble, the South African military (SANDF) said Tuesday.
The command is “investigating the involvement of its members in this despicable act,” the SANDF, which has sent troops to Mozambique, said in a statement. “The culprits will be brought to justice.”
The widely shared images show soldiers throwing bodies into a fire where at least one other body is already burning. One of them pours liquid on the remains while others, including one wearing the South African army sign, watch and film the scene with cell phones.
The incident is believed to have taken place sometime in November 2022, according to the SANDF.
South Africa’s main opposition party (DA) called the acts a “disgrace” for the country in a statement, recalling the existence of international rules for the treatment of the dead “even in conflict zones.”
The northeastern province of Cabo Delgado has been plagued since 2017 by jihadist violence that has already left nearly 4,500 dead, including nearly 2,000 civilians, according to the NGO Acled, which collects data in conflict zones. The violence has also caused one million people to flee their homes, according to the UN.
More than 3,000 African troops were deployed in 2021 to the poor, Muslim-majority region bordering Tanzania to support the Mozambican army.
Violence has decreased in intensity but sporadic attacks continue.