Maputo – New clashes have erupted in the town of Palma, Mozambique, three weeks after a jihadist attack left dozens of people dead and forced thousands to flee their homes, military and security sources said.
“There were shots, but the situation is under control,” said a military commander, speaking on condition of anonymity late on Thursday.
“They attacked in a village in Mueda, in Pundanhar and Palma almost simultaneously,” said a security source based in Maputo.
Islamic State-linked militants raided the coastal town of Palma on 24 March in an assault that marked a major intensification in an insurgency that has wreaked havoc across Cabo Delgado province for over three years as the jihadists seek to establish a caliphate.
The violence pushed France’s Total to desert a nearby multi-billion-dollar gas project.
And since then, there have been fears of new attacks in the gas-rich province.
Mozambique president Filipe Nyusi said last week that the militants had been driven out of Palma and the army said that a “significant” number of rebels had been killed.
But on Sunday, a resident who had returned to his home after fleeing the attack, was found beheaded, local police said.
While the official toll puts the number of civilians, police officers and soldiers killed in last month’s attack, it could actually be much higher.
Prior to the attack, the NGO Ancled had already estimated that the violence had claimed more than 2 600 lives. And UN figures say that over 700 000 have had been forced to flee from their homes.