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A Spaniard, safe after escaping the siege of Al Shabab in a Mozambican city


The jihadist attack on Palma -a town very close to millionaire gas extraction projects- continues today for the fourth day

Archive image of the city of Palma, Mozambique.AFP
  • fear At least 180 people trapped in a hotel in Mozambique by a jihadist attack

A Spanish citizen is among the foreigners trapped in the Mozambican city of Palma (north), besieged since last Wednesday by alleged Al Shabab terrorists, but managed to escape and is now “safe”, official sources confirmed to Efe today. “There was a Spanish citizen in Palma, who managed to flee the city. Currently, he is safe in the city of Pemba and assisted at all times by the Spanish embassy in Maputo and our Honorary Consul in Pemba, “sources from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation detailed to Efe.

“Since the attacks began last Wednesday 24, the Embassy of Spain has been at all times informed of the evolution of the situation and monitoring the state in which the Spanish citizen was, keeping his family informed and taking the pertinent steps to ensure their transfer to Pemba, “added the sources. For now no more details about the identity or what happened to this citizen have been made public, while the jihadist siege on Palma – a town very close to millionaire gas extraction projects (one of the main ones, of the French oil company Total) – continues today for the fourth day.

Military sources confirmed this Saturday to Efe the death of at least seven people since the start of the attacks, but the real dimension of what is happening in Palma is still unknown, as the Mozambican security forces have not yet managed to regain control of the city. Many foreigners work in the area for gas projects on the Afungi peninsula, located a few kilometers from Palma, many of whom had taken refuge in a hotel establishment in the city, the Hotel Amarula.

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It is estimated that in that place there were in total about 170 civilians trapped. After unsuccessful rescue attempts with the support of helicopters, at least one part tried to escape in cars on Friday afternoon, but was ambushed by terrorists, with an undetermined death toll. About a hundred people survived and made it to shore, covered by the Mozambican Defense and Security Forces, and took refuge in the fortified facilities of the Total oil company.

Despite the little information that is known, local media advance that there could be dozens of people killed, beheaded or assassinated by firearms in the streets of Palma, and that the city is being destroyed by terrorists. This attack came after last Tuesday, the Government of the Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, and Total, the company that is leading the Mozambique LNG Project to build a natural gas liquefying plant in the area, announced that “they will soon resume construction activities in Afungi with the implementation of additional security measures.”

Projects in the gas-rich area are constantly held back by the bloody and growing operations of Al Shabab. This formation, which is not related to the jihadist group of the same name in Somalia, has terrorized northern Mozambique since 2017 and has caused, to date, thousands of deaths and almost 700,000 displaced citizens.

The humanitarian crisis in Mozambique is on the rise as the jihadists Burning entire villages, beheading people, including minors, and commit other crimes, as the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned on the 22nd. The United States recently designated Al Shabab as an “international terrorist organization” affiliated with the Islamic State.

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