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The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks carried out for nearly a week on Palma, a port city in northern Mozambique, on the border with Tanzania, on Monday March 29. The capture of Palma further worsens the humanitarian situation in the region, as thousands of people, locals and international workers, have had to flee. </p><div> <p><em>With our regional correspondent, </em><strong>Claire Bargelès</strong>
According to the few testimonies that emerge, Palma is now a ghost town. Mozambican security forces launched the offensive to regain control of the locality taken by the men of the Islamic State group (NO).
The inhabitants took refuge where they could, in an emergency. They left in the surrounding forests, sometimes walking for days, or on the sea, rescued by various boats. The Total gas site, located a few kilometers away and highly secure, has also seen an influx of civilians.
► Read also: The Islamic State group claims to control Palma, in northern Mozambique
Those who were able to be evacuated joined Pemba, a little further south, a town which was already receiving many refugees in recent months over the course of the attacks that have displaced more than 500,000 since the start of the conflict. While communications with Palma are still cut, these survivors find themselves in a state of shock, without news of their relatives. The UN calls for funding to be able to manage such a humanitarian crisis.
NGOs worried about the fate of hundreds of missing
The Mozambican government communicates very little and is content to talk about ” dozens of victims », In addition to the 7 people officially deceased while trying to flee a besieged hotel. But for their part, the NGOs are worried about the fate of hundreds of missing persons.
The region, rich in gas resources, has been shaken by violent jihadist attacks since the end of 2017, led by a group that feeds on the poverty of the region and the anger of the inhabitants. These terrorists call themselves “Al-Shabab” (« young people In Arabic) and claim to be affiliated with ISIS.
Source site www.rfi.fr