South Africa ‘working hard’ to protect citizens in Mozambique: Ramaphosa

People wait for friends and relatives as a ship carrying more than 1,000 people fleeing an attack claimed by Islamic State-linked insurgents on the town of Palma, docks in Pemba, Mozambique, April 1, 2021. REUTERS/Emidio Jozine NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

South Africa was working hard to secure the safety of South Africans in Mozambique, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

South Africa remained “involved with securing the safety of our people in Pemba and in Palma”, Ramaphosa said during a wreath-laying ceremony for the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

“We have already attended to the issue of evacuating those South Africans who are stranded in Mozambique,” he said.

Ramaphosa was referring to the repatriation of six South Africans and the body of fellow citizen Adrian Nel, who was killed by insurgents who attacked the Mozambican town of Palma. TimesLIVE reported on Wednesday that the SAAF aircraft flew from Mozambique to KwaZulu-Natal and thereafter to Gauteng.

Speculation has been brewing for months over whether SA will deploy the SANDF to Mozambique to help the country deal with its three-year-old insurgency.

Last week, Islamist insurgents — who allegedly have ties to Islamic State — overran the key gas-fields town of Palma, killing dozens of people and sending hundreds more scrambling for safety.

A South African contractor was killed in the attack. Dozens more expatriates escaped on boats or were plucked to safety by helicopter gunships operated by Dycke Advisory Group (DAG).

DAG had been contracted by the Mozambique government to provide aerial support to its ground forces battling the insurgents.

By Paul Ash- TimesLIVE

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