Islamist militants have seized control of a key town in northern Mozambique, close to foreign natural gas exploration spots.
According to the police, the jihadists organised an overnight attack on Mocimboa de Praia, seizing a military base and raising their flag.
The army and police have launched a counter-operation.
This is the first time jihadists have attacked a major town in Mozambique.
Usually they attack only villages and farms.
The residents said the militants had blocked all exit routes, and people could not leave the town.
“They are taking residents to the mosque and locking them there,” the privately owned Moz24h website quoted a resident.
Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands displaced during the 3-year terror in Cabo Delgado.
The government supported by the Russian military advisors is struggling to battle the militants.
The jihadists call themselves al-Shabab although it is unclear whether they are linked to the larger Somali movement.