Amnesty International has called for an immediate investigation into the apparent extrajudicial killing of a woman in Mozambique that was shared widely in a horrifying video on social media earlier this week.
In the nearly two-minute-long video, men wearing military uniforms are seen chasing down a naked woman, surrounding and verbally harassing her along a rural road. One of the men repeatedly beats her with a stick before another man shoots her at close range.
She is then repeatedly shot by the men while lying on the road before one of the men shouts “Stop, stop, enough, it’s done.”
The video ends as the men turn and walk away, with one of them announcing, “They’ve killed the al-Shabaab,” the local name given to the growing insurgency in the far north of the country.
It has no known links to the Somali terrorist group of the same name. The uniformed man looks directly into camera and raises his two fingers before the recording stops.
“The horrendous video is yet another gruesome example of the gross human rights violations taking place in Cabo Delgado by the Mozambican forces,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
In its own analysis of the video, the human rights group says that the men were wearing the uniform of the Mozambican military. Amnesty says four different gunmen shot the woman a total of 36 times with AK-47s and PKM-style machine guns. Its investigation concluded that the incident took place near Awasse in the country’s northernmost province Cabo Delgado.
“The incident is consistent with our recent findings of appalling human rights violations and crimes under international law happening in the area,” said Muchena.
CNN could not independently the authenticity of the video, the date and location it was filmed, nor the identity of the gunmen.
Mozambique’s Minister of Interior Amade Miquidade denied the accusations of atrocities, though did not address the video specifically, on national television Tuesday, saying that insurgents frequently wear army uniforms.
“When they want to produce their propaganda against the security and defense forces, against the Mozambican state, they remove those signs/characters that identify them and make videos to promote an image of atrocity practiced by those who defend the people,” he said.
Cabo Delgado is home to a $60 billion natural gas development that is heavily guarded by Mozambican military and private security.
Loosely aligned with ISIS, the insurgents have undertaken increasingly sophisticated attacks in recent months, overrunning large parts of Mocimba de Praia, a strategic port north of the regional capital Pemba in August. Unlike in previous attacks, government forces have struggled to fully retake the territory.
The insurgents have been accused by the government and human rights groups of their own violent abuses – including beheadings, looting, and indiscriminate killing of civilians.
And the interior minister highlighted those alleged abuses on Tuesday.
“Once more, our country continues to be the object of aggression by the terrorists, namely in the province of Cabo Delgado, where they’ve enforced cruel, inhuman, atrocious acts against our population,” said Miquidade.
Security analysts and human rights workers say that insurgents operating in the area do sometimes wear Mozambican military uniforms. But the uniformed men in the video showing the woman’s killing speak Portuguese, generally more common to Mozambicans from the South.
CNN’s David McKenzie and Brent Swails reported from Johannesburg and Vasco Cotovio reported from London.