Maputo, Mozambique (CNN)Heavy fighting continued into Saturday around the northern town of Palma in Mozambique, which was attacked by Islamist insurgents on Wednesday, according to multiple sources contacted by CNN.
Dozens unaccounted for in Mozambique after Islamist attack, rights groups say
Thousands of people have fled Palma after the attack on Wednesday, according to human rights groups, while the fate of dozens of people who had taken refuge in a local hotel remains unclear.
Witnesses reported seeing bodies in the streets after the insurgents, believed to be affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS, attacked Palma from three directions, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.
The town is close to a large liquefied natural gas project run by the French company Total. The attack came hours after the Mozambican government and Total announced a resumption of operations at the vast Afungi project north of Palma, where work had been suspended since January after a series of insurgent attacks.
Video from Thursday obtained by CNN shows helicopters flown by military contractors deployed by the government passing over a hotel lodge an apparent effort to secure an escape corridor for dozens of people who had fled there as the attack unfolded.
Among the people visible in the video from the hotel compound, at least 20 appeared to be foreign workers.
In another video obtained by a CNN, a Mozambican who was also trapped in the hotel described the situation as "critical," saying "we don't have food, we only have water."
In the video recorded Thursday, he said: "We have been under attack since yesterday ... We've been under cross-fire for 24 hours.
"We don't know how we're going to get out of here. We're going to be evacuated but we don't know when, at what time, how and by whom," he added.