Islamic militants continued their sixth straight day of fighting against the Mozambican army Monday for control of the strategic northern town of Palma, as reports came in that dozens of civilians have been killed and bodies were littering the streets.
Thousands were estimated to be missing from the town, which held about 70,000 people before the attack began last Wednesday.
The fate of scores of foreign energy workers was also unknown.
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Some of the dead had been beheaded, according to Human Rights Watch. An attempt by expatriate workers to flee to safety came under heavy fire, causing many deaths, according to local reports.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Monday for the attack, saying it was carried out by the Islamic State Central Africa Province, according to the SITE extremist monitoring group.
The battle for Palma highlights the military and humanitarian crisis in this Southern African nation on the Indian Ocean. The three-year insurgency of the rebels, who are primarily disaffected young Muslim men, in the northern Cabo Delgado province has taken more than 2,600 lives and displaced an estimated 670,000 people, according to the U.N.
The attacks in Palma started Wednesday just hours after the French energy company Total announced it would resume work outside the town on its huge natural gas project at Afungi, near Mozambique’s northeastern border with Tanzania. Earlier Muslim militant attacks prompted Total in January to suspend work on the project to extract gas from offshore sites.
The Mozambican army has been fighting the militants in several locations to regain control of Palma, Col. Omar Saranga, a Ministry of Defense spokesman, said Sunday in the capital of Maputo.
As CBN News has reported, even after the defeat of ISIS in Syria, the Islamic terror group turned its sights on Africa.
The continent is currently witnessing a spree of terror attacks inspired by ISIS-affiliated groups.
In November of last year, Boko Haram Islamic fighters slaughtered 110 Nigerian farmers, men, and women, killing them as they worked in their rice fields.
In a separate attack, ISIS-linked fighters beheaded 50 people in a soccer stadium in northeast Mozambique.
And earlier that same month, a CIA officer, formerly of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6, was killed in an explosion set off by the Somali-based Islamic terror group al-Shabaab. The CIA operative, along with four Somali officers, reportedly died during a raid on the group's suspected hideout south of Mogadishu.
According to the Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, has been responsible for more than 57,000 deaths since 2011. Nigeria sits at the epicenter of the violence and Christians are the terror group's favorite target.
Johnnie Moore, the co-author of the new book, The Next Jihad: Stop The Christian Genocide in Africa told CBN News that what's happening in Nigeria is nothing short of Christian genocide.
"It's the exact same playbook that ISIS used against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq," Moore said. "In fact, you might say that Boko Haram was the test case even before ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram was already killing more people, Christians, in fact than ISIS did at their height in Iraq and Syria."
Does evil really exist? What does the Bible say about evil? Does God allow evil in the world? Those and many other questions are addressed here.