In March, a town in Mozambique was rocked to the core after it was raided by Islamic State-linked fighters.
However, according to a report from rights group Amnesty International, white rescue workers were given preferential treatment and evacuated first.
More than 30,000 people have fled Palma since the March 24 attack. Following the attack, Amnesty interviewed 11 Black survivors.
“White contractors (were) airlifted to safety before local black people,” said Amnesty. As if that wasn’t enough of an insult, a hotel manager’s two German Shepherd dogs boarded a rescue helicopter ahead of Black evacuees. A few “well-off” Black locals were also prioritized.
As many as 220 civilians sought refuge in the Amarula hotel in Palma, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Amnesty says 200 of these civilians were Black. The majority abandoned by South African private military company Dyck Advisory Group (DAG).
DAG founder Lionel Dyck told AFP that the allegations were “not at all accurate,” promising to issue a statement later.
“Witnesses told us of racial discrimination in decisions about who to evacuate from the Amarula hotel,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa. “These are alarming allegations that the rescue plan was racially segregated, with white contractors obviously receiving preferential treatment.”
The survivors explained that initially, it was understood that the evacuation of women, children, and people with disabilities would be prioritized, but DAG opted to ditch the plan.
“We didn’t want all white people to be rescued, because we knew that if all the whites left, we would be left there to die. We heard them talking about the plan to take all the whites and leave the Blacks,” one survivor said.
170 Black survivors remained at the hotel, left with no other option but to vacate the area by car.
“The total lack of co-ordination between the Mozambique security forces and Dyck Advisory Group resulted in evacuations that were racist, and must be thoroughly investigated.”