Ten days ago, the mother of five stood face to face with the jihadists attacking Palma in northern Mozambique. IS has claimed responsibility for the attack and says the city has been taken over.
– I saw them with bazookas. They wore uniforms with red scarves tied around their heads, she says.
Jose is one of several thousand people who have fled as a result of the attack that took place on March 24.
Since March 25, the UN Food Program has evacuated 380 people, mostly women and children.
Tens of thousands on the run
Nearly 10,000 people fled the violence in the area and have sought refuge in other parts of the province of Cabo Delgado. According to the International Organization for Migration (IMO), there are still 23,000 people in the Afungi area.
MSF informs AFP that the aid organization has evacuated its staff from Afungi “due to a deterioration in security conditions”.
A military source in the capital Maputo says the French oil and gas giant Total has evacuated all employees after a drone video showed that rebels in the area were “very close” to the natural gas plant in Afungi.
Stops the evacuation
Mozambique’s northern region has been hit by an escalating Islamist uprising since 2017. Last week, many were killed and tens of thousands forced to flee when jihadists attacked the coastal city of Palma.
The UN Food Program (WFP) has helped the most vulnerable out of the conflict area, but on Friday the flights were stopped.
“Due to a deteriorating security situation, we have so far stopped the evacuation from Afungi to Pemba,” spokeswoman Shelley Thakral told AFP.
She says WFP works closely with the authorities to assess when it is safe to resume flights.
Loyalty to IS
Around 100 suspected members of an Islamist group known as both al-Shabaab and al-Sunna wa Jama’a (ASWJ), launched the attack on Palma on March 24.
The attack in Palma was the last of more than 830 jihadist attacks in the last three years that have killed more than 2,600 people.
The uprising in the troubled Cabo Delgado region began in 2017 and has led to a humanitarian catastrophe in the country similar to that during the civil war from 1977 to 1992.
(©NTB / TV 2)
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