Boat carries 1,200 survivors from Mozambique militant attack to safety
By Emidio Jozine and Emma Rumney PEMBA, Mozambique (Reuters) - A boat carrying 1,200 survivors of a deadly attack by Islamic State-linked insurgents in northern Mozambique reached safety in the port of Pemba on Thursday, some of them crying on arrival after spending days hiding in the bush. Aid workers were at the crowded port to give food to those disembarking from the green and white ferry, while police and soldiers kept control of crowds of people excited to see relatives rescued during the attack that began last week in Palma, a Reuters reporter at the port said.
By Emidio Jozine and Emma Rumney
PEMBA, Mozambique (Reuters) - A boat carrying 1,200 survivors of a deadly attack by Islamic State-linked insurgents in northern Mozambique reached safety in the port of Pemba on Thursday, some of them crying on arrival after spending days hiding in the bush.
Aid workers were at the crowded port to give food to those disembarking from the green and white ferry, while police and soldiers kept control of crowds of people excited to see relatives rescued during the attack that began last week in Palma, a Reuters reporter at the port said.
Many people were believed to have scattered into dense forest or to have attempted to escape by boat, aid workers said.
An emotional Mariamo Tagir, who arrived on the ferry, told Reuters TV that she had spent seven days in the bush, crying every day.
"I don't know where my son is. It's very painful," said Tagir. "The situation is really bad, many dead."
Islamist insurgents have been increasingly active in the surrounding province of Cabo Delgado since 2017, although it is unclear whether they have a unified aim or what specifically they are fighting for.
The district where Palma is located is adjacent to natural gas projects worth $60 billion. It is home to around 110,000 people according to United Nations estimates, of whom more than 40,000 sought shelter there after fleeing attacks elsewhere.
Mozambique's government has confirmed dozens of deaths in Palma, including at least seven killed when militants ambushed vehicles trying to escape the Amarula Hotel. One South African is confirmed to have died as a result.
British national Philip Mawer, who has been missing since the attack, was likely also killed in the incident, his employer RA International said in a statement on behalf of his family, adding a body matching his description had been recovered but not formally identified.
"The family is devastated by the loss," the statement said.
Fighting was continuing as recently as Wednesday, with government forces going door-to-door trying to clear out insurgents, a United Nations (U.N.) source said, while Portugal was reportedly ready to send 60 soldiers to help train armed forces in Cabo Delgado.
Reuters has not been able to independently verify the accounts from the town. Most means of communication were cut off after the attack began on March 24. Phone calls to Mozambique's government and security officials went unanswered on Thursday.
Aid groups believe the attack has displaced tens of thousands of people. Hundreds, including many foreign workers, have been evacuated by air.
As of Wednesday afternoon, a U.N. migration agency tracker showed more than 8,100 people had been displaced, almost half of them children. Roughly 20% had arrived in Pemba, with others turning up in the districts of Mueda, Montepuez and Nangade in Cabo Delgado.
However, the full scale of the casualties and displacement remains unclear.
The ferry - organised by French energy major Total in coordination with the Mozambican government and U.N. - docked at around 8 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) in Pemba, the provincial capital of Cabo Delgado.
Total, which has a gas project on the Afungi Peninsula near Palma, said in a statement that there were almost 1,200 passengers on board, mainly women and children.
A humanitarian official said the government was screening those arriving at Pemba to prevent infiltration by armed groups.
(Emma Rumney reported from Johannesburg; Additional reporting by Manuel Mucari in Maputo, Alexander Winning and Helen Reid in Johannesburg, Wendell Roelf in Cape Town, David Lewis in Nairobi, Giulia Paravicini in Addis Ababa and Benjamin Mallet in Paris; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Hugh Lawson and Alex Richardson)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
CARACAS (Reuters) - Human rights groups from Venezuela and Colombia on Wednesday called on the United Nations to appoint a special envoy to address the humanitarian crisis caused by clashes between Venezuelan troops and Colombian armed groups near the countries' border. Colombian officials estimate that some 4,000 people have fled Venezuela for Colombia since March 21 following a military offensive in Venezuela's Apure state.
By Anton Zverev and Andrew Osborn MOSCOW (Reuters) - Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny went on hunger strike on Wednesday in an attempt to force the prison holding him outside Moscow to provide him with proper medical care for what he said was acute pain in his back and legs. The fate of Navalny, one of President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics, is in focus after he said last week that being woken up by a guard every hour during the night amounted to torture and that his appeals for medical treatment had been ignored. In a handwritten letter addressed to the governor of his prison which was posted to social media by his team on Wednesday, Navalny said daily requests for a doctor of his choice to examine him and for proper medicine had been ignored
By Stephanie van den Berg THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court on Wednesday upheld its 2019 acquittal of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo on charges of crimes against humanity during post-election violence and ordered all conditions of his release be removed. The decision may open the way for Gbagbo, 75, who has been living in Belgium, to return to Ivory Coast