On 24 March 2021, insurgents commenced a sophisticated and bloody attack on the town of Palma, in the far north of Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province. The attack lasted for five days, according to some reports, and has made world news.
Stories ricocheted around the world of how tourists and contractors at the Total liquefied natural gas (LNG) project took shelter at a nearby hotel; how some had made a disastrous dash for freedom, were ambushed and died before they were rescued. Horrendous as they are, these stories should also draw attention to a greater tragedy that affects millions of people in Mozambique's poorest province.
One person who spoke to Maverick Citizen pointed out "most of the rescue missions focused on the foreigners, but what about the local communities?" That's a good question given that, according to the Cabo Ligado Weekly, a report produced by the Armed Conflict Location and Data Event Project (ACLED) there have now been 1,341 fatalities from "civilian targeting" and a total of 2,689 deaths as a result of "organised violence" since the insurgency started in 2017. There are now an estimated 700,000 internally displaced people, a crisis which has humanitarian, regional and global security implications.