The African Union has called for urgent and coordinated international action after an attack by fighters that killed dozens and uprooted thousands in the northern Mozambican coastal town of Palma.
Armed fighters attacked Palma on March 24, ransacking buildings and beheading residents and forcing thousands to seek safety in the surrounding forest.
Dozens have been killed, more than 8,000 displaced and many more are still missing following the coordinated attack, which is seen as the biggest escalation by fighters that have battered Cabo Delgado – a gas-rich province – since 2017.
In a statement, AU Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said on Thursday he “condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks”.
Expressing “utmost concern” at the presence of international hardline groups in southern Africa, he called for an “urgent and coordinated regional and international action”.
Regional bloc the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held emergency talks in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, to discuss the violence.
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi promised regional help but gave no details.
He said SADC would “respond in a helpful manner that we assure the integrity and sovereignty of one of our own, never to be assaulted by dissident, rebellious and non-state actor forces that undermine the democratic credentials and peace in the region.”