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Screen grab: TVM
The islamist terrorists who attacked the town of Palma, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado on 24 March, murdered and beheaded 12 foreign citizens outside the Amarula Hotel, according to a report on Mozambique Television (TVM).
The Mozambican defence and security forces buried the bodies about 100 metres from the hotel, after the terrorists had been driven out of the town last weekend.
“They were 12 whites, 12 white people, but I can’t tell you what nationalities they were”, said Pedro da Silva Negro, the member of the Mozambican police who was in charge of the burials. “The bodies were here, as you can see from the bloodstains”.
The Mozambican forces want a forensic team to be mobilised urgently, so that the bodies can be disinterred for purposes of identification, and then returned to their home countries. “Work is being done on this, but I don’t know when the forensic team will arrive”. Brig Vidigal Chongo, spokesperson for the Northern Operational Theatre, told the reporters.
If it is confirmed that these bodies are indeed of foreigners, this would bring the number of known foreign dead to 13: a South African citizen, Adrian Nel, died when a convoy of 17 vehicles tried to escape from the Amarula Hotel. The terrorists ambushed the convoy on 26 March, killing Nel and at least six others. Nel’s body was recovered and flown back to South Africa.
There is still no estimate of the number of Mozambican dead. Bodies, some of them beheaded, were seen lying in the streets after the attack, and it is feared that others may have died in the bush as they tried to make their way to safety.
The Amarula used to have the reputation of the best hotel in Palma. Now it is largely destroyed. About a kilometre away is the Palma Inn, which the terrorists set on fire. Among the Mozambican state institutions reduced to ashes were the Palma health centre, a police station, and the local branch of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Banks and shops were also destroyed by the raiders.