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Evacuation of people trapped by militant attack in Mozambique runs into ambush, reports say

March 28, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 53.3%. 2 min read.

The attempted evacuation of people trapped during an attack in northern Mozambique by Islamist militants has led to multiple casualties, with dozens of people still unaccounted for, according to reports, in what the US embassy in Maputo is calling a "horrific situation."

Maputo, Mozambique (CNN)The attempted evacuation of people trapped during an attack in northern Mozambique by Islamist militants has led to multiple casualties, with dozens of people still unaccounted for, according to reports, in what the US embassy in Maputo is calling a "horrific situation. "

The town of Palma in Cabo Delgado province was attacked by Islamist insurgents on Wednesday, according to multiple sources contacted by CNN.

Witnesses reported seeing bodies in the streets after the insurgents, believed to be affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS, attacked Palma from three directions, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.

According to several accounts provided to CNN, a convoy of about 17 vehicles left Palma on late Friday afternoon.

A regional security source based in Pemba said the convoy was ambushed and only seven vehicles reached safety.

Another source -- who works in the area and has direct knowledge of the logistics operation -- told CNN that at least eight vehicles in the convoy were still missing.

The accounts provided to CNN say the convoy left a hotel on the northern outskirts of Palma heading towards the large Total natural gas project on the Afungi Peninsula, some 15 kilometers away.

The security source in Pemba also said attempts to reach the nearby coastline with rescue boats had been fruitless, after the vessels had come under fire from the militants, known locally as Shabaab, and with no links to the Somali group of the same name.

Many people who have been living and working in Palma remain out of reach.

In a statement to CNN, the US embassy in Maputo said it was "aware of one U. S. citizen who was in Palma, but has been safely evacuated," adding that it was in touch with "Mozambican authorities, international missions, and the private sector regarding the ongoing situation and humanitarian relief efforts. "

Regional security sources say they used explosives to target bank branches in Palma.

Human Rights Watch and others say that in the early stages of the assault witnesses described the militants as attacking and killing local people in their homes and on the streets of Palma.

by summa-bot

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