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More than 100 civilians abducted by militants in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province have been rescued, the military said.

Army commander Cristovao Chume said those rescued were mainly women and children, and they would be handed over to the authorities for social support.

The commander said militants were still active in Palma district although the security of the area was considered to be under control.

Militants continue to torch houses in some villages, General Chume said.

He accused the militants of using civilians as shields – which was making army operations difficult.

“This is the first barrier we find in any operation that we carry out. So we have been instructing our fighting comrades to preserve the lives of the women and children. But the chase for armed and non-armed jihadists is on,”

he said.

On Tuesday, the government said its forces had killed more than 150 insurgents in Palma between 21 to 23 June.

Mozambique’s army has lately intensified its fight against militants in the province.

The Islamic State-linked insurgents has been carrying out attacks in Cabo Delgado since 2017. The violence has so far killed more than 2,500 people and displaced about 900,000 others.

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