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Hundreds of women enslaved in Mozambique

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Militants linked to the Islamic State terror group in the southern African country of Mozambique have enslaved more than 600 women and girls, many of which have been abused and sold as sex slaves for as low as $600, a report by Human Rights Watch reveals.


The United Kingdom-based watchdog organization reports that the armed group Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah, also known as Al-Shababin the northern province of Cabo Delgado has forced younger, healthy-looking and lighter-skinned women and girls in their custody to “marry” their fighters.

Others have been sold to foreign fighters for between $600 and $1,800, according to the report. And, abducted foreign women and girls have been released after their families paid ransom.

The oil-rich Cabo Delgado province, a coastal region on the Indian Ocean, has suffered an emergence of a jihadi movement that has displaced thousands and killed hundreds since 2017. In 2018, the terror group pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. In 2019, the Islamic State confirmed the group as an affiliate and has claimed responsibility for some attacks. 

Militants abducted women and girls during attacks in various Cabo Delgado districts. HRW interviewed 37 people, including former abductees, relatives, security sources and government officials between August 2019 and October 2021. 

A 33-year-old woman stated that local Al-Shabaab fighters held her aunt at gunpoint so that she would identify houses with girls between the ages of 12 and 17 in Mocimboa da Praia. The source counted 203 girls but is unsure if all the girls were abducted. 


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