A ship carrying 1,200 survivors who were fatally attacked by rebels associated with Islamic State in northern Mozambique has reached a safe place in Pemba Port. Some of them wept when they arrived in the jungle for a few days.
A port Reuters reporter said that aid workers provided food to people who disembarked at the port, while police and soldiers controlled the crowd. They were excited to see their relatives rescued in the attack that began in Palma last week.
Rescuers said that many people are believed to be scattered in dense forests or trying to escape by boat.
An emotional Mariamo Tagir (Mariamo Tagir) arrived at the ferry and told Reuters TV that she spent 7 days in the bushes and was crying every day. “I don̵
Since 2017, Islamic insurgents have become more active in the surrounding province of Cabo Delgado, although it is not clear whether they have a unified goal or fight for it.
Palma is located in an area adjacent to a natural gas project worth US$60 billion (£43 billion). According to United Nations estimates, there are about 110,000 people here, and more than 40,000 of them sought asylum there after escaping attacks elsewhere.
The Mozambican government has confirmed dozens of deaths in Palma, at least seven of them were killed when militants ambushed a car trying to escape the Amarula Hotel. The results confirmed the death of a South African.
RA International, the employer of British national Philip Mawer, who has been missing since the attack, said in a statement on behalf of his family that there is also a possibility of death in the incident. The statement said: “This family is shocked by the loss.”
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “We are deeply concerned about this latest development. We are in close contact with our family and are cooperating with the Mozambican government and the Metropolitan Police to confirm more details.
“We are working with the people of Mozambique against the threat of terrorism and are working with the government to restore peace and stability.”
According to footage taken by the local news station TVM, the military operation took place on Wednesday. The footage showed soldiers carrying rocket-propelled grenades and guns in the area, as well as reinforcements arriving by helicopter.
Army spokesperson Chongo Vidigal (Chongo Vidigal) said in the video: “I can’t say that we have controlled the entire village.” However, the security forces do have strongholds in the port area.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the town’s accounts. After the attack began on March 24, most communication methods were cut off. On Thursday, no calls were received with Mozambican government and security officials.
Aid groups believe that the attack has displaced thousands of people. Hundreds of people, including many foreign workers, have been evacuated by airlift.
As of Wednesday afternoon, trackers from the United Nations immigration agency showed that more than 8,100 people had been displaced, nearly half of whom were children. Approximately 20% of the people arrived in Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado province, while others arrived in the Mueda, Montepuez and Nangade areas in other parts of the province. However, the full scale of casualties and displacement remains unclear.
The ferry is coordinated and organized by French energy company Total, the Mozambican government and the United Nations, and it stops at Pemba at around 8 am local time.
Total has a natural gas project on the Afungi Peninsula near Palma. In a statement, Total said there were nearly 1,200 passengers on board, mainly women and children.
A humanitarian official said that the government is screening people arriving in Pemba to prevent armed groups from infiltrating.