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French oil company Total, which on Wednesday expressed its intention to resume work on gas exploration in northern Mozambique, today announced the suspension of its operations after a ‘jihadist’ attack in Palma.

Total “has no victims to lament in the staff working on the project site” in Afungi, 10 kilometers from Palma, but will “keep workers to a minimum” and the “weighted project reactivation this week is suspended”, according to a statement quoted by AFP.

The attack unleashed on Wednesday in the village of Palma and which today entered the fourth day is the most serious in the gas projects after three and a half years of armed insurgency to which the district seat had so far been spared.

Sources contacted by Lusa said that Palma remained today occupied by armed rebels, while operations continued to evacuate the village and also the project area on the Afungi peninsula.

About 200 expatriates have taken refuge at the Amarula hotel in Palma since Wednesday afternoon when the armed attack on the village began.

Among them are workers of various nationalities linked to the companies working on the natural gas project led by the French oil company Total.

On Thursday, rescue operations for the hotel began inside the protected enclosure of Total oil, six kilometers away, actions that continued on Friday, when one of the caravans was attacked, a source accompanying the operations told Lusa.

At least one South African contractor has been killed and several others are missing, the South African press reported today.

A Portuguese man was injured in a rescue operation in Palma, Portuguese authorities confirmed today.

The violence that has raged since October 2017 is causing a humanitarian crisis with almost 700,000 displaced people and more than 2,000 deaths.

Some of the raids were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group between June 2019 and November 2020, but the source of the attacks remains under debate.

Source: with Agencies

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