Mozambique; 1200 Displaced Persons Ferried To Safety

Some 1,200 people displaced by last week’s attack by militant Islamists on the northern Mozambican town of Palma have disembarked in the city of Pemba.

Star 1 has been used to take people away from Pemba
AFPCopyright: AFP

They were transported to Pemba on a boat chartered by the French oil and energy company, Total.

The displaced people – mostly women, children and the elderly – arrived on Wednesday evening but for security reasons could only leave the vessel on Thursday morning after screening to check no infiltrators from the insurgents were among them.

It is the largest single arrival of displaced civilians from Palma to a location outside the conflict zone.

Contact had been lost with the town for more than a week, and the thousands of people who gathered at the port on Thursday wanted to know whether relatives and friends were among those who arrived.

Juliana Ambrósio, 34, returned home alone because the rest of her family – her husband and siblings – were unable to board, still among the “many, many people” taking refuge in Afungi.

She hoped the boat could come back, transporting those still hiding from the armed insurgents roaming just a few kilometres away.

Juliana told reporters that her cousin had died in the attack.

Not even the rain that begins to fall in the middle of the morning deterred the crowd in the port.

Rosa Manuel, 33, was greeted by a volunteer who provided her with shelter, water and biscuits. Most of the internally displaced people had nothing to eat or drink for several days while they hid, mainly the bush.

They say as they sought refuge they saw dead bodies, people beheaded or chopped into pieces by the insurgents, locally known as al-Shabab.

Many of the displaced people who disembarked this morning will stay with relatives or friends in the already overcrowded city of Pemba. But those who have no acquaintances will stay in makeshift tents erected for them, according to the authorities.

The security frces say they are doing all they can to ensure that Palma is a safe place for the displaced to return home.

Source BBC

Photo Credit: AFP

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