In the province of Cabo Delgado, an extremist organization that has been causing horror for years launched its surprise attack on Wednesday. The fighting is said to continue.
Terrorist organization An Islamist militant group united with the Isis has taken control of the city of Palma, with a population of less than 70,000, on the north coast of Mozambique. The news agency AFP reported on the matter on Saturday based on information it received from security sources.
– Government forces have withdrawn from Palma, so the city has been taken, one source told the news agency.
Another source confirmed the conquest of the city, but said fighting continued between government forces and Islamist militants. In addition to AFP, Reuters reports on recent events in the area.
Extensive gas projects are under way in the Palma region, including the French oil company Total and several other international energy companies. In 2011, one of the world’s largest natural gas deposits was discovered in the area.
Palma is located in the province of Cabo Delgado, which has been terrorized by an extremist Islamist armed group called Ansar al-Sunna for several years. The organization aims to establish an Islamic state in Cabo Delgado.
Jihadistit began their surprise attack on the city on Wednesday afternoon. Since then, the cellular network in the area has not functioned properly.
Several people were killed and residents fled in horror to nearby forests.
“Several witnesses have told Human Rights Watch that they saw bodies on the streets and people fleeing after Al-Shabab fighters tentatively shot at people and buildings,” human rights organization Human Rights Watch said in a statement released Friday.
Locals sometimes call Ansar al-Sunna Al-Shabab, but the group has no links to a jihadist organization of the same name in Somalia. Anisar al-Sunnah shares with Isis the extreme brutality of violence, among other things.
About 180 gas company and administration workers sought protection at a hotel called Amarula Palma, where they were trapped for three days. Among them were also foreign employees of energy companies.
On the night before Saturday, the crowd was evacuated from the hotel. About 80 people were tried to be transported away in military vehicles, but some of them ended up ambushed by the jihadists and set off on fire.
Several people were reported dead, but some escaped. Those who remained at the hotel retreated to military barracks on a nearby beach, from where they were transported by boat to a secret refuge, according to AFP sources.
– At first it was thought that they had been killed. There were about 100 of them, a security source said.
According to a representative of the Dutch energy company, about 20 people were evacuated from the hotel by helicopter on Saturday. Some of those who fled the hotel on Saturday were still missing, but their numbers were unclear.
From his 21-year-old son on secondment in Palma Francois van Niekerkistä search South Africa feverishly for information Cindy Cooke. He said the family had not heard of the young man since the attack began on Wednesday.
– This is scary. Being there is no joke. Those rebels are ruthless, completely ruthless, Cooke told Reuters.
Terrestrial Ansar al-Sunna, which looted and attacked villages and towns in the north, has driven about 700,000 people from their homes in recent years. There have been an estimated 2,600 deaths, half of them civilians.
Cabo Delgado’s gas projects have suffered in the past from the activities of Islamist rebels in the region. The latest attacks were launched just hours after French company Total had announced a gradual resumption of interrupted work.
The Mozambican government said its forces had launched a counterattack on Thursday.
Source site www.is.fi