Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

'Running to save my life' - Mozambique attack survivors tell of horror

CommoditiesApr 03, 2021 06:41PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Displaced women sit on mats, at a displacement centre in Pemba 2/3

By Emidio Jozine

PEMBA (Reuters) -Luisa Jose, a 52-year-old mother of five, says she came face-to-face with Islamic State-linked insurgents when they attacked the gas hub town of Palma in northern Mozambique 10 days ago.

"I was running to save my life ... they were coming from every street," she told Reuters from a stadium in the port city of Pemba housing some of the thousands who fled the violence.

"I saw them with bazookas. They wore uniforms with red scarves ... tied to their heads."

Jose said the militants quickly overran her hometown of Palma, next to huge gas projects worth $60 billion.

Aid workers believe tens of thousands of people fled the assault, which began on March 24. However, just 9,900 of those displaced had been registered in Pemba and other parts of Cabo Delgado province, according to the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA.

Many could still be hiding in the surrounding forest, said the international aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, and those who emerged have recounted seeing bodies of others who died of hunger or dehydration along the way.

Some were also killed by crocodiles or perished in deep mud, according to a contractor whose employee witnessed both.

LEFT BEHIND

Most communications to Palma were cut when the attack began, and Reuters has not been able to independently verify witnesses' accounts.

A spokesman for Mozambique's defence and security forces declined to comment on Saturday, while calls to the national police went unanswered.

The province of Cabo Delgado, where Palma is located, has been home since 2017 to a simmering Islamist insurgency now linked to Islamic State. Clashes between the militants and government forces around Palma continued as recently as Friday, security sources told Reuters.

South Africa said on Saturday that Mozambique's neighbours would meet next week to discuss the insurgency.

Mozambique's government has said dozens were killed in the attack on Palma but the full scale of the casualties and displacement remains unclear.

Fato Abdula Ali, 29, said she was separated from her husband and three children in the chaos. Nine-months pregnant, she couldn't keep up with other residents as they made their escape and delivered her baby son alone in the bush. She cut the infant's umbilical cord with a tree branch, she said.

The next day, she said, she stripped herself of her blood-soaked clothes and found another group of people who took turns carrying her to safety.

"My whole body aches," she told Reuters at a hotel in Pemba.

Luisa Jose said she spent almost five days in the bush, eating bitter cassava tubers and drinking from cloudy pools of water before making it to Quitunda, a village for people relocated by the mega gas projects led by major oil companies, including France's Total.

From there, she says, she was evacuated by Total but had to leave behind more than six family members, including her husband and a daughter, because there was no room on the boat.

Total on Friday pulled all of its remaining workforce from its project site near Palma, two sources with direct knowledge of site operations told Reuters, leaving it in the hands of the military. Total declined to comment.

Jose has had no news of her family members since she left them behind. They are among thousands believed to be stranded in Quitunda, according to aid workers and diplomats.

"Are they safe? Do they have shelter? Will they come back? I don't know," she said.

'Running to save my life' - Mozambique attack survivors tell of horror
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (4)
Red Riley
Red Riley Apr 03, 2021 9:08PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
where is the united nations
Joel Hauser
Joel Hauser Apr 03, 2021 8:02PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
France should grant them citizenship.
Guida Soares
Guida Soares Apr 03, 2021 8:02PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Why France? Mozambique was a Portuguese colony.
Guida Soares
Guida Soares Apr 03, 2021 8:02PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Why France? Mozambique was a Portuguese colony.
New Jazenevd
New Jazenevd Apr 03, 2021 6:48PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Very important religion, fully embraced and supported by Dem party.
chacha cha
chacha cha Apr 03, 2021 6:04PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
You know biden won't help you cause there's no benefit for America
Ronnie Mathew
Ronnie Mathew Apr 03, 2021 6:04PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Nonsense
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email