Islamic State Terrorists claims control as residents flee Mozambique town
Charles Nwoke, Palma, Mozambique
April 1, 2021
Tiny towns such as this one in Mozambique have been occupied by IS. Image credit:
Residents of Palma town have all deserted their homes either by boats, roads, or on foot due to fear of attacks by the raging Islamic extremist group, five days after the insurgents raided the area.
The terrorist group ambushed the town on Wednesday, in continuation of an insurgency that has spread bloodily across the northern part of Mozambique since 2017.
According to Mozambique government authorities and IS, scores were killed in what eyewitnesses described as a coordinated attack, and an undisclosed number of persons were still missing.
It is the biggest attack, close to a multi-billion-dollar gas project being built on a peninsula just 10 kilometers (six miles) away, by France’s Total and other energy companies.
“The caliphate’s soldiers seized the strategic town of Palma,” IS said in a statement posted on its Telegram channels. It claimed its offensive aimed at military and government targets, killing dozens of troops and “members of Crusader states,” its term for Western nationals.
Meanwhile, the United States on Monday vowed to assist Mozambique after a prolonged deadly onslaught on the key northern town of Palma by Islamic State-linked terrorists waging an escalating insurgency.
“We remain committed to working together with the government of Mozambique to counter-terrorism and violent extremism and defeat ISIS,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
The US State Department this month said the group reportedly pledged allegiance to IS in April 2018. It named its leader Abu Yasir Hassan and declared him a global terrorist.
The defense ministry said late Sunday the security forces had “reinforced their operational strategy” to contain the attacks and restore normality in Palma.
The insurgents are known locally as al-Shabaab, although they are not believed to have links with the Somali terrorist organization by that name.