The Southern African Development Community (SADC) intervention force in Mozambique launched a probe into an incident in which suspected members of the force were filmed burning bodies of unidentified persons in the insurgence-hit north of the country.In a video that has gone viral on social media, some unidentified soldiers believed to be members of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) were seen throwing bodies of deceased persons into a pile of burning rubble.
There is speculation that the bodies may have been of victims of extrajudicial killings by members of the regional force or the Mozambican army.
SAMIM said the force had taken “note of the viral video clip circulating on social media depicting members wearing apparent SADC member states military uniform burning bodies of the deceased.”
“The SAMIM force commander is unable to confirm that the incident occurred within his area of responsibility,” the regional force said.
It added: “SAMIM force commander has convened a board of inquiry to thoroughly investigate the circumstance around the matter at issue.”
Members of the public would be “taken into confidence” once the findings of the board of inquiry are out, it said.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which has contributed troops to SAMIM, condemned the “despicable act” and said would take action if any of its members is found to have been involved in the incident.
“The SANDF does not condone in any way the acts committed in the video and those who are found guilty of such acts will be brought to book,” it said.
SAMIM was deployed in July 2021 to help Mozambican troops to fight against Islamic State-aligned insurgents who have wreaked havoc in Mozambique’s mineral-rich Cabo Delgado province since 2017.