The Mozambican Ministry of Defense confirmed, in a statement to the press, an armed attack on the village of Palma, pointing out that “the defense and security forces are pursuing the enemy’s movement and are working tirelessly to restore security and order with the utmost speed ”.
Omar Saranga, spokesman for the Mozambican Ministry of Defense, said that the attack carried out by armed groups began at 4:15 pm (2:15 pm in Lisbon) on Wednesday, when “terrorists attacked the village from Palma in three directions: crossing Pundanhar – Manguna, via Nhica do Rovuma and the aerodrome ”.
The colonel also admitted that communications with Palma are interrupted, so far there is no information on victims and damage caused.
The Ministry of Defense calls on the population “to remain vigilant and serene while looking for safe spaces”, asking for collaboration with the authorities, “denouncing terrorists and armed men for their neutralization”.
Several sources told the Lusa agency that the population was leaving the village and taking refuge in the forest, a scenario also confirmed by the Ministry of Defense. According to the newspaper Público, many fled by boat towards Pemba.
Still according to testimonies, workers of different nationalities linked to works in the region of Palma, where gas projects in northern Mozambique are taking place, fled together with the population after armed groups attacked the district headquarters, according to testimonies. The village is home to several companies and staff due to the ongoing investments there.
According to the weekly Expresso, the attack came a day after Total and the Mozambican government announced the gradual return to activity gas liquefaction facilities on the Afungi peninsula.
The oil company had announced in a statement that the Mozambique LNG Project would progressively resume construction activities on the site, following the adoption of additional security measures.
The number of affected workers and nationalities is uncertain, but some sources reported to Lusa the situation in Palma, which had hitherto been spared three and a half years from an armed insurgency in Cabo Delgado, which is causing a humanitarian crisis with almost 700 thousand displaced people and more than two thousand deaths.