Disturbing new images show the aftermath of a bloody attack by ISIS terrorists in the African country of Mozambique last month.
One picture, published by Sky News Monday, shows fires burning in the strategic northern city of Palma. Others show bedsheets and other items arranged on the ground to spell out “HELP” and “SOS” so that they can be seen by rescue helicopters.
Still, others show overturned and damaged cars that appear to have been ambushed while their occupants were making desperate escape attempts.
The BBC reported Monday, citing the Mozambican army, that Palma had been recaptured and a “significant” number of terrorists had been killed.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the March 24 attack, according to the SITE extremist monitoring group. Their claim alleged that the Islamic State Central Africa Province controlled Palmas banks, government offices, factories and army barracks, and that more than 55 people, including Mozambican army troops, Christians and foreigners were killed.
Meanwhile, the director of the Dyck Advisory Group, a private military company contracted by the Mozambican police to help fight the rebels, described “fighting in the streets, in pockets across the town.”
“My guys are airborne and they’ve engaged several little groups and they’ve engaged one quite large group,” Dyck told the Associated Press last week. “They’ve landed into the fight to recover a couple of wounded policemen. … We have also rescued many people who were trapped, 220 people at last count.”
Dyck added that his fighters had described seeing “the drivers of trucks bringing rations to Palma. Their bodies were by the trucks. Their heads were off.”
Survivors have recounted seeing heavily armed terrorists storming through the towns with distinctive uniforms featuring red scarves around their heads.
“I was running to save my life … they were coming from every street,” survivor Luisa Jose, 52, told Reuters. “I saw them with bazookas.”
Palma, a city of around 70,000 fewer than 20 miles from the border with Tanzania, is located near an oil and natural gas production site operated by the French energy company Total. Sky News reported that the facility has been turned over to the military, while Total staff have been evacuated from the area.
Cabo Delgado, the province where Palma is located, has been the focal point of the Islamist insurgency since 2017, and observers fear the latest attack is a sign of the terrorists’ ambition to spread their insurgency throughout the country.