Thousands of people fleeing an attack claimed by militant group have made their way to safety elsewhere in northern Mozambique, aid workers said, while a small group of victims arrived by boat in neighbouring Tanzania.

Insurgents hit the coastal town of Palma, adjacent to gas projects worth $60 billion, with a three-pronged attack last Wednesday.

Fighting continued as recently as Tuesday, security sources involved in rescue efforts and the United Nations said.

Reuters has not been able to independently verify the accounts from Palma. Most communications to the town were cut last Wednesday.

People fleeing an insurgent attack on the town of Palma in Mozambique arrived at the provincial capital of Pemba:

A UN spokesperson said that so far 5 300 displaced people had been registered in different districts of the Cabo Delgado province, home since 2017 to a simmering Islamist insurgency linked to militant group.

The numbers of displaced were expected to rise in the coming days.

Since Tuesday, more than 300 survivors of the attack had arrived in provincial capital Pemba by plane and boat, a senior humanitarian official based in Mozambique told Reuters.

A boat carrying another 1000 people, including some injured, was expected to arrive in Pemba late on Wednesday after its departure from a gas project site near Palma was delayed, three people briefed on the rescue operation said.

In the village of Kilambo across the border in Tanzania, another boat with 45 people on board docked on Tuesday afternoon, a local community leader told Reuters, adding the people had been given food and shelter.

Others seeking shelter in Tanzania had failed to cross the border because of a difficult river crossing, UN humanitarian officials said. Tanzanian government and border officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The attack probably displaced tens of thousands of people, aid groups said, with people scattering into dense forest or attempting escape by sea.

Mozambique’s government has confirmed dozens of deaths, including at least seven killed when militants ambushed a convoy of vehicles trying to escape a besieged hotel.

Witnesses have described bodies in the streets, some of them beheaded.