Thousands of People Fled Violence at the Mozambique Gas Project


More than 8,000 people have taken themselves to safety following an attack by jihadists on the Mozambican town of Palma, near a major international gas project.


Emergency workers say that survivors are often in bad shape. An MSF emergency coordinator said that even a baby with a gunshot wound was treated.

Armed extremists opened the attack on Palma at the end of last month. They roamed the city murderously and plundering. Thousands of people fled and hid in forests. They sometimes managed to reach the international gas project in the area after a few days. That is about 10 kilometres from the city.

Refugees were in shock, dehydrated and sometimes seriously injured, according to emergency responders. These included women who had given birth to children during their flight in the forest. The United Nations helped evacuate vulnerable people and claimed to have registered 8166 refugees. About half of the cases are children.

The flare-up of violence could also have consequences for the construction of the gas installation in the area. This involves tens of billions of dollars, an unprecedented investment for Africa. The French energy company Total had already suspended work a few months ago due to the poor security situation. Just before the attack, the concern announced that activities would be resumed step by step.

President Filipe Nyusi said on Wednesday that his country had seen worse attacks. The army says it has sent troops to Palma to retake the city. Also, Portugal announced this week that soldiers would be sent to the north of Mozambique to fight against the jihadists.

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