Fighters stormed the strategic town of Palma in northern Mozambique last week in a dramatic escalation of an armed campaign that has wreaked havoc in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province since 2017.
The government on Sunday said “dozens of defenceless people” were killed in the coordinated raid that saw the attackers fire indiscriminately at people and buildings in the coastal town. Among the victims were seven people caught in an ambush during an operation to evacuate them from a hotel where they had fled to in order to escape Wednesday’s attack.
Palma – home to some 75,000 people, as well as to many who had already been internally displaced due to the worsening violence in the province – was deserted on Monday after residents fled by road, boat and on foot “in all directions”, according to aid groups.
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