Luisa Jose, a 52-year-old mother of five, says she came face-to-face with Islamic State-linked insurgents when they attacked the gas hub town of Palma in northern Mozambique 10 days ago. “I was running to save my life … they were coming from every street,” she told Reuters from a stadium in the port city of Pemba housing some of the thousands who fled the violence. “I saw them with bazookas. They wore uniforms with red scarves … tied to their heads.” Jose said the militants quickly overran her hometown of Palma, next to huge gas projects worth $60 billion. Aid workers believe tens of thousands of people fled the assault, which began on March 24. However, just 9,900 of those displaced had been registered in Pemba and other parts of Cabo Delgado province, according to the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA. Many could still be hiding in the surrounding forest, said the international aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, and those who emerged have recounted seeing bodies of others who died of hunger or dehydration along the way. Some were also killed by crocodiles or perished in deep mud, according to a contractor whose employee witnessed both. LEFT BEHIND Most communications to Palma were cut when the attack began, and Reuters has not been able to independently verify witnesses’ accounts. A spokesman for Mozambique’s defence and security forces declined to comment on Saturday, while calls to the national police went unanswered. The province of Cabo Delgado, where Palma is located, has been home since 2017 to a simmering Islamist insurgency now linked to Islamic State. Clashes between the militants and government forces around Palma continued as recently as Friday, security sources told Reuters. South Africa said on Saturday that Mozambique’s neighbours would meet next week to discuss the insurgency.