O1 April 2021
Pretoria – The United States has vowed to support Mozambique in the wake of a deadly attack on the Northern town of Palma by Islamic State (ISIS) linked militants waging an escalating insurgency.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said that the U.S condemns the terrorist attack on the town of Palma.
“We condemn the terrorist attack on the town of Palma. These attacks show a complete disregard for the welfare and security of the local population which has suffered tremendously at the terrorist brutal and indiscriminate tactics,” Kirby said.
Kirby refused to give details about how the United States works to assist Mozambique against the militants.
John Godfrey, the top US Envoy on the fight against the Islamic State group, said that the assault was consistent with the tactics of the extremists.
“Just the sheer brutality of the events on the ground there, the horrific killings of civilians, is something we have seen elsewhere in attacks,” Godfrey said.
Godfrey told reporters ahead of a previously scheduled virtual meeting scheduled on Tuesday of the coalition against ISIS.
Godfrey said there was also an ‘increased brazenness’ among ISIS fighters in Mozambique who initially conducted ‘hit and run raids’.
They now are seeking to take and hold, at least for some initial period of time, some of the towns , he said.
Dozens of people including South African citizens were killed in what witnesses described as a coordinated attack on Palma last Wednesday, while an unknown number is still missing.
The insurgency has spread across northern Mozambique since 2017.
Meanwhile, The SA Air Force has repatriated six South Africans and the body of fellow citizen Adrian Nel who was killed by insurgents who attacked the Mozambican town of Palma.
The repatriation took place after heavily armed rebels, who are reportedly linked to the Islamic State, overran the town during a six-day battle.
The fighting is believed to have seen hundreds killed and injured with an untold number of people, including expats, who were working on a $60bn (R900bn) gas project run by French company Total on the nearby Afungi peninsula, missing.
In a statement, department of international relations and co-operation spokesperson Clayton Monyela said the repatriation was carried out by the air force.
“This follows the successful evacuation of six more SA nationals and the repatriation of the mortal remains of the SA man who perished in the attacks”.
“The SAAF plane flew from Mozambique to KwaZulu-Natal and thereafter to Gauteng,” Monyela said.