Mozambique called for “rapid relocation to protect civilians” after jihadists seize the city

Islamist militants have taken control of a city in northern Mozambique, killing several people including at least one foreign worker and forcing France’s Total to suspend operations on a huge gas project.

The attack on Palma began just hours after Total said on Wednesday that it would resume work on its $ 20 billion (€ 17 billion) project after halting operations in January due to security concerns.

“We urge the Mozambican authorities to step in quickly to protect civilians,” said Dewa Mavhinga, South Africa’s head of Human Rights Watch, in talks with FRANCE 24.

“We know that this attack was led by the Isis-linked group,” he said, referring to militants linked to the Islamic State.

“During the attack, the group disrupted the communication channels. As a result, it is difficult to get the exact number of civilians involved,” Mavhinga added.

“The authorities must regain control of Palma and restore peace and security.”

“It is an indiscriminate attack on unarmed civilians,” Mavhinga said. “The authorities must intervene quickly. We also call on Mozambique’s neighbors to step in to provide support.”