MOZAMBIQUE: Insurgents seize Cabo Delgado, 180 trapped in hotel

Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province has remained a playground of Islamic Insurgents whose operations in the last four years have killed thousands and displaced millions, by Ollus Ndomu (DIRAMAKINI) Zambia.

As of Wednesday last week, insurgents took over the oil-rich province after attacks which left aleast 180 people being trapped inside a hotel.

Majority of those trapped are expatriate workers, local media reported.

The Wednesday afternoon attack also saw hundreds of locals flee into surrounding forest areas for safety.

According to allAfrica, militants launched offensive following an announcement by French energy giant Total that it has planned to gradually resume operations at the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project.

Total is the principal investor in the northern region of Mozambique.

Witnesses and rights groups have told the press that the Wednesday attack near liquified natural gas site in Cabo Delgado province killed several people whose total number is yet to be confirmed.

Local tabloids also reported that workers from the LNG site sought refuge in a local hotel, from which government forces tried to airlift them.

"Almost the entire town was destroyed. Many people are dead. As locals fled to the bush, workers from LNG companies, including foreigners, took refuge in hotel Amarula where they are waiting to be rescued," a worker told the AFP news agency, on the condition of anonymity.

An unverified video on social media showed an unidentified man filmed the hotel lobby showing several people milling around the patio. He described the situation in Palma as "critical" and added, "We don't know if we will be rescued," AFP

On Friday, media outlets reported that the hotel had run out of food, it only had water.
Photo credit: Reuters / Grant Lee Neuenburg

The government of Mozambique said soldiers launched an offensive on the militants adding that forces were "working tirelessly to re-establish security and order as fast as possible," said Ministry of Defense spokesman Col. Omar Saranga at a press conference on Thursday.

Col. Saranga further promised that government will "do everything to guarantee the security."

Human Rights Watch said Friday, "Several witnesses told Human Rights Watch that they saw bodies on the streets and residents fleeing after the Al-Shabab fighters fired indiscriminately at people and buildings."

The AP news agency reported that hundreds have sought refuge in Quitunda, a village near the Total project.

Ollus Ndomu is DIRAMAKINI weekly content contributor from Southern African region.

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