Palma ‘safe’ from jihadists, says Mozambique Army

IS-linked militants had seized the town

Mozambique’s military has said a “significant” number of militants were killed in fighting for the northern town and gas hub of Palma, seized by Islamic State-linked jihadists last month.

Palma was taken in a coordinated attack on March 24, in a major escalation of an insurgency that has been raging in Cabo Delgado province for more than three years.

Thousands have fled the town of some 75,000 people and dozens killed, according to an early government toll, and French energy giant Total has abandoned a site where a multi-billion-dollar gas project is under way.

On Sunday, the Army escorted officials and journalists through Palma.

Commander Chongo Vidigal, leader of military operations to regain control of Palma, told state television TVM the area was “safe,” although he fell short of declaring the Army had regained control.

“The airfield area was the only one we needed to clear and we did that this morning. It’s completely safe,” Vidigal assured. “I think that it is a significant number of terrorists who were shot down,” he said, adding the authorities would clarify the exact number later.

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