White people, dogs prioritised over saving black people in Mozambique attack - Amnesty International

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Insurgents attacked Mozambique in March.
Insurgents attacked Mozambique in March.
Ali Makram Ghareeb/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Amnesty International says white people were given preferential treatment during rescue operations during the attack on Palma, Mozambique.
  • The body compiled a report from 11 black survivors.
  • Insurgents stormed the town on 24 March.


Whites were given preferential treatment for evacuation in a March air rescue when Mozambique's Palma town was raided by Islamic State-linked fighters, rights group Amnesty International alleged Thursday.

In a report compiled from interviews with 11 black survivors, it charged that even dogs were pulled to safety ahead of blacks by a private military company helicopter that airlifted civilians from a hotel where they had sought refuge.

"White contractors (were) airlifted to safety before local black people," said Amnesty, adding the hotel manager took his two German Shepherd dogs on the rescue helicopter, leaving humans behind.

Jihadists swooped on the coastal town on 24 March, and around 200 people, mainly civil servants and foreigners working on a nearby gas project, sheltered in the beachfront Amarula Palma Hotel during the attack.

Amnesty said there were about 20 white workers among the group holed up in the hotel.

Deprose Muchena, the rights watchdog's regional director for east and southern Africa, said "these are alarming allegations that the rescue plan was racially segregated".

"Abandoning people during an armed assault simply because of the colour of their skin is racism, and violates the obligation to protect civilians," he said, adding that for the hotel manager to "choose to rescue his dogs instead of people is also extremely shocking".

Dyck Advisory Group (DAG), a private military company hired to help government fight the militants and which was involved in the rescue operation, rejected the allegations.

DAG founder Lionel Dyck told AFP in a texted response that the allegations were "not at all accurate", promising to issue a press statement later.

Twelve decapitated bodies were found strewn in front of the hotel days after the attack, according to the army and private security sources.

The attack marked a major intensification in an insurgency that has wreaked havoc across Cabo Delgado province for over three years as the militants seek to establish a caliphate.

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