Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi has confirmed that jihadists have been “chased” out of the city of Palma, two weeks after armed groups launched a bloody attack on the northern port city.
“The terrorists have been chased out of Palma,” the head of state said in a televised address to the nation.
However he says he is not claiming victory because he is aware that the country is fighting terrorism.
On March 24, armed groups launched a raid on this city of 75,000 inhabitants, killing dozens of civilians, police and soldiers. The attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, took place just a few kilometers from the French group Total’s gas mega-project on the Afungi peninsula.
Mozambican authorities said they had partially regained control of the town on Monday, with a “significant” number of Islamist fighters killed, the military said.
Thousands of troops have been deployed in recent days, but since the first attacks in 2017, government forces have proved unable to effectively combat the rebels who terrorize the poor but natural gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado, which borders Tanzania.
Nearly 11,000 people have been displaced, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Some 23,000 others are still on the Afungi peninsula, near the Total site.
The French group has evacuated all its staff and the multi-billion euro project has come to a complete halt.