Dozens still unaccounted for in Mozambique following Islamist attacks

The family of a South African man who was missing in the war-torn town of Palma in Mozambique has thanked the nation for their support.

© Sahul Hameed/123rf

JOHANNESBURG - Dozens are still unaccounted for in Mozambique after Islamist attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

The family of a South African man who was missing in the war-torn town of Palma in Mozambique has thanked the nation for their support.

Francois van Niekerk (21) was rescued on Sunday after hiding in bushes from Islamic insurgents along with other foreign nationals for several days.

Rebels seized control of the town after French oil and gas giant Total announced it would be resuming its $20 billion project in the area.

About 200 expatriates took refuge inside the Amarula Palma hotel after the town came under siege on Wednesday.

The group were ambushed at the gates of the hotel as they tried to flee in a vehicle convoy after waiting to be evacuated.

It's still unclear how many South Africans were among the foreigners and locals who were killed in the four days of fighting in Mozambique’s coastal town of Palma.

For now, South Africa has said it is working with the authorities in Mozambique to offer support and consular services to those who managed to flee.

One of the South Africans who died during the attack was Adrian Nel.

It’s understood the KwaZulu-Natal resident was shot during an ambush on Friday.

Meanwhile, Sonia van Niekerk, the mother of Francois who escaped said she’s happy that her son did not suffer the same fate.

READ: Safe & hungry - SA man (21) caught in Mozambique insurgent attack rescued

Van Niekerk has thanked South Africans for their support.

At the same, time both the Mozambican Embassy and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation have not said how many South Africans are still unaccounted for.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.