By Jorge Joaquim
The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attacks in Palma, Cabo Delgado, that started on Tuesday night and continued until Thursday, causing an unknown number of deaths and injuries.
Palma is less than 6 km away from the construction site for the gas projects led by companies like French multinational Total. The attack happened on the same day that Total announced that it would gradually resume work at the site after suspending it due to insecurity.
Confrontations in the area in fact started on Tuesday night, with reports of shooting that locals believe now to have been members of state security forces repelling an attempted incursion.
Security sources told the AFP news agency that “the militants are using heavy, new weapons that we have never seen before.” Lusa reported that automatic gunfire could be heard, people were fleeing to the bushes, and that helicopters were flying over the town. Communication was cut off shortly after the first phone calls reporting the attack.
“We express our solidarity with the Palma community and the Mozambican Armed Forces working to re-establish peace and security.” said the US embassy in Mozambique on Friday in a statement seen by Pan African Visions.
“The Embassy is deeply concerned by the terrorists’ continued assaults against the residents of Cabo Delgado, who have suffered tremendously from the terrorists’ brutal and indiscriminate tactics.”
According to witnesses, workers of different nationalities linked to works in the Palma region, fled along with the population after the attack by armed groups on the district headquarters town.
The defence and security forces, said the Ministry, “are pursuing the enemy and are working tirelessly to re-establish security and order as quickly as possible”. It urged the civilian population “to remain vigilant and calm, while seeking safe spaces”.