Mozambican army says it has control of Palma after terrorist invasion

A week after a terrorist invasion in northern Mozambique claimed the life of a British national, the military has said it has full control of the coastal town of Palma.

A Mozambican army spokesman claimed that a “significant” number of militants were killed in the counter-offensive to retake the town of some 75,000.

Brigadier Chongo Vidigal told reporters the massive gas plant in the area was secure, and Palma was now a safe zone. 

Videos from reporters who gained access to the town show the complete devastation inflicted by the attack — bodies on the street and major buildings destroyed. 

On March 24, a shadowy clique of Islamist terrorists loosely allied to Isil in the Middle East launched a major invasion of the town in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado region.

Read more: Mass beheadings and vast untapped wealth: Inside the mysterious Islamist insurgency sweeping Mozambique

About two hundred expatriate workers, mostly there to service the newly-build gas hub on the nearby Afungi peninsula, tried to escape a siege in a hotel in a convoy of trucks. But at least seven were shot down and killed by the gunmen. 

The death count of the attack is unclear but more than 10,000 people were forced to flee Palma. Many are now arriving in Pemba, the provincial capital of the Cabo Delagado region. 

The militants are known locally as Al-Shabaab, in reference to the jihadist group which has brought Somalia to its knees, and have wrought chaos across the region since October 2017.

The conflict has forced some 700,000 people from their homes, with more than 2,500 killed.

After their assault on the town, oil giant Total has suspended its $15bn project to exploit gas from the region, the biggest investment project in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The company withdrew all its staff on Friday after refusing to hire private security to defend its project. 

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