Reports from Mozambique say the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for taking control of the northern city of Palma in Mozambique. It is the latest attack by the growing Islamist insurgency in the region. The key northern Mozambican city of Palma was deserted on Monday, with residents fleeing on a road, boat or on foot as ISIS claimed control after a long offensive.
The Islamic State group said on Monday it had taken control of the northern coastal city of Palma, after days of fighting. “Caliphate forces have taken control of the strategic city of Palma” following a three-day offensive against military and government targets that killed dozens, the group said in a statement.
The jihadist group’s claim comes after thousands of survivors of a series of jihadist attacks in the city fled by boat to the provincial capital, Pemba, according to sources in the city.
Sources in the international aid agency say between 6,000 and 10,000 people are waiting to be evacuated to safety following the Palma attack that began last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a boat carrying 1,800 people fleeing the terrorist attacks is already in Pemba. The plane was carrying 200 expatriates of various nationalities, many of whom worked for the oil company as a whole, who had taken refuge at the Amarula Hotel in Palma since Wednesday afternoon, when an armed attack on the city began.
Mozambique has recently been on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe with massacres, beheadings, and mass displacement. There are at least 700,000 IDPs, most of them looking for camps near Pemba.