MAPUTO– Mozambican police have declined to confirm the authenticity of a video circulating on social media for the past week and which purports to show members of an Islamist group which has launched raids in the northern province of Cabo Delgado callin on people to join its ranks.

The two-minute, 18-second video shows a group of five men in civilian dress, their faces covered with headscarves. Four of them are brandishing AK-47 assault rifles, while the fifth is clutching a machete.

Speaking in Mozambique’s official language, Portuguese, one of the men declares that the aim of the group’s armed attacks in the Cabo Delgado districts of Mocimboa da Praia, Palma and Nangade is to establish a world which follows the laws laid down in the Quran.

Questioned about the video at his weekly media briefing here Tuesday, the spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican Police, Inacio Dina, could not confirm the authenticity of the video, much less the identity of the men.

Dina urged citizens to exercise vigilance and keep calm when faced with supposed information on social media which may have been posted just to manipulate public opinion.

The police can neither confirm nor deny that the armed men shown in the video really are members of a group known in Cabo Delgado as Al-Shabaab, but more correctly named as Al-Suna.

The most serious attack by the Islamist group occurred on Oct 5, last year, against three police posts in Mocimboa da Praia district. Subsequent incursions have also hit targets in the neighbouring districts of Palma and Nangade.

Dina insisted that currently the situation throughout Cabo Delgado is under control, and that the defence and security forces are continuing to ensure the safety of residents of the province.