17:04 GMT11 April 2021
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    JOHANNESBURG (Sputnik) – The gas rich town of Palma, Mozambique has been destroyed and residents cannot return to normal life despite the government's efforts to regain control over the territory after Islamist insurgents captured the place in a deadly attack at the end of March, a member of the women's rights group Muleide, told Sputnik on Monday.

    On Friday, the Pemba police chief told Sputnik that militants had left the town and is now under the control of the country's armed forces. He claimed that the government believed there was no risk that the group of insurgents who had attacked Palma would attack other towns.

    "No, life is not normal in Palma. The town has been destroyed. People are still being sent to [the neighbouring city of] Pemba", Julia Wachave, a member of the women's rights group Muleide said.

    On Monday, the media reported, citing local defence officials, that the area was declared "safe" by the army on Sunday, and a significant number of terrorists were killed.

    However, most countries and international companies continue to pull their workers from Mozambique.

    On Friday, French energy giant Total reportedly evacuated all of its personnel from the Mozambique LNG project located near Palma by sea and air, leaving the security of the project to the local armed forces. On Saturday, South Africa announced that it would assist all citizens wishing to leave Mozambique.

    "Total workers have been evacuated and it is unlivable in Pemba", Wachave noted.

    On 24 March, an attack by militants left several dozen people dead and over 9,000 displaced in the 75,000-resident town. A majority of the survivors have been relocated to the provincial capital of Pemba. The Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Total, attack, gas, Mozambique
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