More than 8000 people have brought themselves to safety after an attack by jihadists on the Mozambican town of Palma, near a major international gas project. Emergency workers say that survivors are often in bad shape. An emergency aid coordinator from Doctors Without Borders told me that even a baby was treated with a gunshot wound.
Armed extremists opened the attack on Palma at the end of last month. They went murderous and pillaging through the city. Thousands of people fleed and hid in forests. They sometimes managed to reach the international gas project in the area after a few days. Thats about 10 kilometers from the city.
Refugees were, according to aid workers, in shock, dehydrated and sometimes severely injured. Among other things, women who had given birth to children during their flight in the forest. The United Nations helped evacuate vulnerable people and claim to have registered 8166 refugees. It concerns children in about half of cases.
The flaring of violence can also affect the construction of the gas plant in the area. This involves tens of billions of dollars, an unprecedented investment for Africa. The French energy company Total had already suspended work a few months ago because of the poor safety situation. Just before the attack, the group announced that the activities will be resumed step-by-step.
President Filipe Nyusi said Wednesday that his country has experienced worse attacks. The army claims to have sent troops to Palma to retake the city. In addition, Portugal announced this week that soldiers are being sent to the north of Mozambique to help fight the jihadists.