As militants launched an attack on Mozambique’s Palma, workers are seeking refuge at the Amarula hotel. An operation is underway to rescue the workers, said the government.

More than 180 people are trapped inside a hotel in a town in northern Mozambique, as it has been under siege by insurgents for the last three days. Those trapped include expatriate workers.

Militants launched an attack on Wednesday afternoon, forcing locals to flee into surrounding forest areas.

The attacks occurred after French energy giant Total announced that work would gradually resume at the liquified natural gas project. Total is the principal investor in the region, with other firms such as ExxonMobil also involved in the area.

Rescue operation in progress

Some people have reportedly been killed, according to witnesses and rights groups, after the attack in Palma near a liquified natural gas site in Cabo Delgado province. Workers from the LNG site sought refuge in a local hotel. The military was trying to airlift workers from the hotel.

“Almost the entire town was destroyed. Many people are dead. As locals fled to the bush, workers from LNG companies, including foreigners, took refuge in hotel Amarula where they are waiting to be rescued,” a worker told the AFP news agency, on the condition of anonymity.

An unverified video on social media showed an unidentified man filmed the hotel lobby showing several people milling around the patio. He described the situation in Palma as “critical” and added, “We don’t know if we will be rescued.”