Islamic State-linked terrorists decapitated more than 50 people in Mozambique after a three-day raid on local villages in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province in the north of the country.
After burning down houses and abducting and sexually assaulting women and children, the militants tracked down fleeing residents and herded them to a local soccer field where they were beheaded and chopped to pieces.
The terror group, known formally as Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jammah (Followers of the Traditions and Community) pledged allegiance to the Islamic State earlier this year and joined its Central Africa Province division. Most of the group is comprised of young men from poor communities, with little evidence of established Islamic State leaders or logistics in the region.
In April, a similar attack in the Cabo Delgado Province left 52 dead. In October, 300 militants attacked a village on the Tanzanian side of the border along Cabo Delgado, and in October they temporarily seized a port that "is pivotal in the transit of oil and gas equipment," according to the Counter Extremism Project.
"Mozambique's government, however, is ill-equipped to counter the growing number of radical insurgents," said the Counter Extremism Project. "Additionally, there have been reports that Mozambique's security forces have fled scenes of insurgent activity as the number of insurgents greatly outnumbers security forces in the area."
Up to 2,000 people have been murdered in Mozambique, and 300,000 have fled their homes as a result of increasing violence since 2017.