More than 180 people trapped in Mozambique hotel after insurgent attack

WION Web Team
Maputo, Mozambique Published: Mar 27, 2021, 08:36 AM(IST)

Soldiers in Mozambique Photograph:( AFP )

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The Mozambique government on Thursday confirmed the attack on the town and said soldiers had launched an offensive to repel the fighters from the town, the hub of the giant gas project.

Over 180 people are trapped inside a hotel in a northern Mozambique town under siege by insurgents for three days, media reports have said.

Also, several people were reportedly dead after the attack in Palma near a liquified natural gas site in Cabo Delgado province.

The Mozambique government on Thursday confirmed the attack on the town and said soldiers had launched an offensive to repel the fighters from the town, the hub of the giant gas project.

Jihadist militants began a raid on the coastal town on Wednesday afternoon, forcing terrified residents to flee into surrounding forest as LNG and government workers sought shelter at the Amarula Palma hotel -- waiting to be rescued.

Human Rights Watch said the attackers are linked to a group known locally as Al-Shabab, which has no known direct link to the Somalian jihadist organisation with a similar name.

"Several witnesses told Human Rights Watch that they saw bodies on the streets and residents fleeing after the Al-Shabab fighters fired indiscriminately at people and buildings," the rights group said in a statement on Friday. 

South African news website News24 reported that one South African national had died during the attack. 

Another worker from a company subcontracted by the Total said helicopters flew over the hotel earlier on Friday trying to find "a corridor to rescue the approximately 180 people trapped in the hotel".

In an unverified short video clip shared on social media, an unidentified man filmed the hotel lobby showing several people milling around the patio.

In a statement Friday, the US embassy in Maputo condemned the attack on Palma, pledging its commitment "to working with the government of Mozambique to counter violent extremism".

Militants affiliated with the so-called Islamic State group have raided villages and towns across the province, causing nearly 700,000 to flee their homes.

The violence has left at least 2,600 people dead, half of them civilians, according to the US-based data collecting agency Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED).

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