NOTE: THERE ARE PHOTOS IN THE LINK
ISIS militants have taken over paradise islands in the Indian Ocean, burning down hotels and imposing Sharia Law.
Luxury islands off the coast of Mozambique, where A-list celebrities spend their holidays, have been overrun by insurgents linked to Islamic State.
Luxury hotels, wildlife, and homes have been torched and “reduced to ashes” in the militant attacks.
The ISIS insurgents have ordered residents to abandon the islands of Vamizi and Mecungo – where celebrities like Daniel Craig, Bono and Prince Albert of Monaco have holidayed in luxury.
Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and political leader Nelson Mandela have also been known to have enjoyed holidays on the picturesque island.
Burnt-out beach huts and torched safari cars were pictured on Vamizi Island.
One resident of Mecungo island told AFP that the insurgents had arrived by boat at night and rounded everyone up.
The local said: “They told us to run if we want to live. Everyone left the island.”
Mozambique and its islands have been closed to tourists since pandemic travel restrictions were imposed.
The ISIS-linked militants also captured and occupied the port town of Mocimboa de Praia on the Mozambican mainland – telling locals that it would become their new capital, run under Islamic law.
The Cabo Delgado provence has also been ransacked and raided by the jihadists.
One man who had fled to Mecungo Island from Mocimboa da Praia said: “They arrived at night in small fishing boats. They removed people from the houses and then torched them.
“They didn’t hurt anyone, they just gave orders to leave the islands.”
Government troops are failing to keep pace with the militants’ new firepower.
Western energy companies, who have invested in gas projects off the coast of Mozambique, have been forced to build new facilities to avoid the jihadis’ path.
More than 1,500 people have been killed and 250,000 displaced during the insurgency, which erupted three years ago close to the border with Tanzania.
In the past year, the militants have taken credit for the brutal insurgency, naming themselves the Islamic State Central Africa Province.
Jasmine Opperman, an analyst with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, said: “The insurgents now have a strong maritime capability, which is rapidly evolving.