Aid reaches Mozambique’s insurgent-hit Palma after 6 month hiatus

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Residents in Macomia, Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique on June 11, 2018. PHOTO | AFP
Residents in Macomia, Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique on June 11, 2018. /AFP

Aid has reached Mozambique’s northern coastal town of Palma for the first time since it was overrun by jihadists in March, the United Nations said Monday, even as beheadings were reported in another area.

Palma, the operational hub of a multi-billion-dollar gas project, had been off bounds since Islamic State-linked militants attacked it earlier this year.

Dozens of people were killed, some beheaded, and thousands fled through surrounding forests, joining hundreds of thousands already displaced by the violence.

Humanitarian access to the town remained difficult even as local troops worked alongside soldiers sent by several other African countries to stem the insurgency.

“For the first time since March, humanitarian aid reached people in Palma,” tweeted the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in Mozambique. It added that 2,150 families had received emergency food, hygiene and shelter kits.

Many of those displaced from Palma had sought refuge in the nearby village of Quitunda, close to the gas project, where rights groups say they were trapped by troops and ongoing fighting.

 

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