President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi says the army will neutralise those responsible for deadly attacks in the northern part of the country where gangs wielding machetes have attacked police and religious leaders.
Six men wielding machetes killed at least seven people and injured four others this month in the predominantly Muslim region.
Ten people were beheaded in May, and local media reported at least two were children.
“We will not rest until these perpetrators are neutralised and held accountable, so our Defence and Security Forces are on the ground, firm and relentless,” President Nyusi said.
Violence first broke out in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado in October 2017, with local residents reporting gangs attacking police stations, torching villages and executing religious leaders.
Last week, Human Rights Watch estimated that at least 39 people had been killed and more than 1,000 displaced since May.
The United States and Britain have advised their citizens to steer clear of the area.
President Nyusi said some alleged members of these groups had already been captured by security forces but he did not provide further details.
US petroleum company Anadarko Petroleum is beginning to develop a 15 billion dollars liquefied natural gas project in the region and has placed staff under “lock-down” in the area.
Mozambique has not been a focal point of Islamist militant activity in the past and police have been reluctant to ascribe the attacks to Islamists.
Report says about 30 per cent of Mozambique’s 30 million people are Roman Catholics; about 18 per cent are Muslim.