An armed attack in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, on June 27 killed eight workers at a subcontracted construction company for the gas mega project, Fenix Construction announced today.
The car they were on was attacked four kilometers north of Mocímboa da Praia, on the same day that the village was under attack – with clashes that continued for the following days -, about 70 kilometers south of the construction site of the led enterprise by the oil company Total.
Of the 14 occupants, in addition to the eight killed, three fled to the bush and survived while three others remain missing.
The vehicle in which they followed “was attacked by five insurgents dressed in military uniform similar to that of the Mozambican Defense Forces”, reads the statement by Fenix Construction.
“They blocked the vehicle and immediately opened fire, immediately killing the driver” and “at the same moment, three occupants who survived managed to escape and enter the bush”.
One of them went through the forest until he reached the village of Quelimane, where he spent the night, before getting a motorbike ride and returning to Palma, capital of the district where the oil works are taking place.
“The other two survivors remained hidden in the bush for several days, in the area close to the ambush site” and returned to Palma on Wednesday and Thursday.
A private security company hired by Fenix managed to rescue the bodies of the eight men killed for Palma and “under instructions from local Palma authorities, were buried on Friday”.
Authorities have yet to comment on the attack on Mocímboa da Praia in the past week, the latest in a series of terrorist incursions of increasing violence since March and claimed by the ‘jihadist’ Islamic State group.
After clashes with the Defense and Security Forces (SDS) of Mozambique, with destroyed infrastructure, limited energy and communications, the information is dropping.
A military source told Lusa it was suspected that the rebels continue to be mixed with families outside the village and therefore “the search and persecution continue”.
The Aid to the Church in Need Foundation (AIS) today released images showing the church of Mocímboa da Praia totally destroyed after being set on fire during the attack.
Other images distributed by residents show that the secondary school, hospital, shops, dozens of private homes, vehicles and other goods were also destroyed.
The clashes between the SDS and armed groups led to a further mass flight of the population.
Mocímboa da Praia had already been invaded and occupied for a day by rebels on March 23, in an action later claimed by the ‘jihadist’ Islamic State group.
The weekend’s clashes are the biggest reported in Cabo Delgado since the occupation by insurgents of the village of Macomia, between 28 and 30 May, and consequent confrontation with the Mozambican SDS.
Mocímboa da Praia is one of the main villages in the province, located 70 kilometers south of the construction area of the natural gas exploration project conducted by several international oil companies and led by Total.
Armed violence has intensified since March, but has been going on for two years, causing the death of at least 700 people and a humanitarian crisis affecting about 211,000 residents.
The United Nations launched, in early June, a $ 35 million (€ 30 million) appeal to the international community for a Rapid Response Plan for Cabo Delgado to be implemented from May to December.
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