Survivors of a recent attack by Islamist insurgents in Mozambique have told Amnesty International that private military contractors prioritised white workers for evacuation as the extremists closed in during days of confused fighting. An estimated 220 civilians sought refuge in the Amarula hotel in Palma, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, during the attack in late March. Twenty white contractors were prioritised to be airlifted to safety while the others, mainly black local people or citizens of Mozambique, were abandoned to take their chances, the campaign group said in a report published on Thursday, which alleges that “racial discrimination jeopardised rescue efforts”. Amnesty interviewed 11 people who sought refuge in the Amarula hotel. They all said the hotel manager and DAG operatives, who were in charge of the rescue attempt, prioritised the safety of white contractors. The DAG’s operations in Cabo Delgado have been controversial. The company has been praised for successfully rescuing dozens during the Palma attack with light helicopters, despite coming under fire, but also criticised for tactics used against insurgents.
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