HRW calls for investigation into Mozambican 'mass grave'

Human Right Watch calls for investigation into Mozambican ‘mass grave’ in the central region of Gorongosa.

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Mozambican government soldiers patrolling an area in Gorongosa.

Human Rights Watch has urged for a “credible and transparent” investigation from the Mozambique government into a reported mass grave containing 120 bodies in an area hit by clashes between security forces and rebels.

Last week, farmers in the central region of Gorongosa region said they found the bodies, some of which appeared to have been recently buried while others had decomposed in a former open pit.  

"The Mozambican authorities should urgently act on reports of a mass grave," Zenaida Machado, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in statement.

"They should immediately launch a credible and transparent investigation."

"Denying the existence of the grave without appropriate investigations only serves to raise suspicions about what happened."

The area of the alleged grave has been enclosed by government forces.

"We have found no evidence, we have not located the alleged mass grave and we have not been able to identify and talk with the farmers who supposedly found it," a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) spokesman Antonio Muchanga said its members were routinely targeted by security forces, claiming that 50 people had been murdered in recent months.

Since December, fighting between security forces and rebels have intensified.