Mozambican troops are on the look-out for militant Islamists who had carried a massive assault on the coastal town of Palma last week, terming the operation “cleansing and manhunt”.
It involves checking the identity of each person in the town, and the reason for their presence there, army spokesman Brig Chongo Vidigal said.
Dozens of people – both locals and foreigners – were killed, thousands displaced, and vital infrastructure destroyed during the days-long raid on Palma by the militants.
The town is close to the new multi-billion dollar natural gas project being spearheaded by the French oil and energy giant, Total.
Brig Vidigal said troops had been on the ground for the last three days, and have been backed by “aerial intervention” to flush out the militants.
The militants operated in small groups, and often mixed with locals, making it difficult to neutralise them, he said.
However, there was no longer a large number of militants in the town, Brig Vidigal added.
Thousands of people – including pregnant women – fled town in boats and on foot following the outbreak of violence.