Aid reaches Mozambique's insurgent-hit Palma after 6 month hiatus

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed food in Palma. (file)
The World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed food in Palma. (file)
Image supplied
  • Palma was attacked by Islamic State-linked militants earlier this year.
  • Dozens of people were killed during the attack, while thousands others were displaced by the violence.
  • According to the UN's World Food Programme in Mozambique, 2 150 families had received emergency food, hygiene and shelter kits.

Aid has reached Mozambique's northern coastal town of Palma for the first time since it was overrun by jihadists in March, the United Nations said on Monday, even as beheadings were reported in another area.

Palma - the operational hub of a multi-billion-dollar gas project of France's TotalEnergies - had been off bounds since it was attacked by Islamic State-linked militants earlier this year.

Dozens of people were killed, some beheaded, and thousands fled through surrounding forests, joining hundreds of thousands already displaced by the violence.

Humanitarian access to the town remained difficult as local troops worked alongside soldiers sent by several other African countries to stem the insurgency.

"For the first time since March, humanitarian aid reached people in Palma," tweeted the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) in Mozambique, adding that 2 150 families had received emergency food, hygiene and shelter kits.

Many of those displaced from Palma had sought refuge in the nearby village of Quitunda, close to the gas project, where rights groups say they were trapped by troops and ongoing fighting.

ALSO READ | Is this the man leading the insurgency in Mozambique?

WFP's announcement was made days after suspected militants beheaded five civilians in the village of Namaluco, around 150 kilometres south of Palma, military and local sources told AFP.

The victims were reportedly brewing a traditional alcoholic beverage when they were murdered.

Locally referred to as Al-Shabab, Mozambique's insurgents have been troubling the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province since 2017 in a bid to establish an Islamist caliphate.

The group grew bolder last year, escalating attacks that culminated with the raid on Palma on 24 March, which forced Total to evacuate its staff and suspend operations.

But they have lost ground since several African countries deployed troops to help overwhelmed local forces.

They suffered a major defeat in August, when Mozambican troops backed by Rwandan soldiers drove them out of their de-facto headquarters in Mocimboa da Praia.


We want to hear your views on the news. Subscribe to News24 to be part of the conversation in the comments section of this article. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Should Proteas star Quinton de Kock continue playing at the T20 World Cup even if he doesn't take the knee in support of the fight against racism?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes! He should be allowed to show his support any way he chooses
38% - 1698 votes
No! If De Kock refuses to unite with his teammates, then he should be on the next plane home
12% - 551 votes
The only ones at fault here are Cricket SA, who have sabotaged another Proteas World Cup
49% - 2203 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.04
-1.5%
Rand - Pound
20.67
-1.3%
Rand - Euro
17.44
-1.6%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.30
-1.8%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-1.9%
Gold
1,794.79
+0.1%
Silver
24.06
-0.4%
Palladium
1,963.00
-2.3%
Platinum
1,012.50
-1.8%
Brent Crude
86.40
+0.5%
Top 40
60,874
-0.3%
All Share
67,475
-0.2%
Resource 10
63,082
-0.9%
Industrial 25
87,253
+0.1%
Financial 15
14,054
+0.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE