A man who was shot by terrorists in front of his father and brother while trying to escape from a hotel was referred to by his mother as a “ray of sunshine”.
40-year-old Adrian Nel was shot while trying to escape the hotel in the city of Palma, Mozambique, which has been under attack by militants since Wednesday.
According to the victim’s mother, Meryl Knox, Adrian was with his father and younger brother when he was gunned down by alleged Islamic insurgents.
Six other people in the same vehicle that Adrian and his two family members were in were also killed while trying to escape the hotel. Sky news Reports.
Ms. Knox told Sky News that her son Adrian, from South Africa, had been in the area for work since January.
Adrian, a contractor, has been described as a “joyful person who brought love, kindness, and joy to everyone he met”.
“He has a lot of friends all over the world, relatives just love him to pieces,” Ms. Knox told Sky News.
“He’s just the heart of the family – a ray of sunshine. When Adrian walked into a room, you were automatically happy.”
According to Sky, two British citizens, an Irish and a New Zealand citizen, were rescued from an ongoing search and rescue operation in and around Palma.
A South African private security company claimed that prior to Adrian’s death, a rescue operation was in progress that had at least 20 people flown to safety in helicopters.
Ms. Knox said it was difficult to get information from the authorities, but she believes her son has no choice but to try to escape by car.
She said: “The evacuation by helicopter would not take place. The insurgents had surrounded the hotel.
“The only chance they had was a convoy. Unfortunately, when they drove out, they attacked the insurgents and my son was shot.
“My husband, my youngest son and Adrian were in a car.”
Ms. Knox was told on Friday that a group of people had been killed trying to escape the hotel, and it wasn’t until the next day that she was told that Adrian was among the victims.
She said her husband and youngest son were not injured in the attack and “managed to get away”. The couple is believed to have been saved on Saturday morning.
The mother claims the people are trapped in the hotel and asked the Mozambican government to restore order.
The exact number of victims in Palma as a result of the attack by suspected Islamist insurgents is unclear.
Omar Saranga, a spokesman for Mozambique’s Ministry of Defense, said on Sunday that dozens of people were killed and hundreds of others saved.
“Defense and security forces recorded the loss of seven lives of a group of citizens who left the Amarula Hotel in a convoy that was ambushed by the terrorists,” said Saranga.
“On March 24, a group of terrorists broke into headquarters in the village of Palma and sparked actions that culminated in the murder of dozens of defenseless people,” he added.
Government-signed helicopters searched for more survivors on Sunday. Lionel Dyck, who runs a private security company that works with the government, said his helicopters saved around 120 people in total.
The exact number of people injured and killed or not yet reported in the four-day attack on Palma remains unclear.
The city was previously a haven for people fleeing violence in other parts of the province.