Jihadists took control on Wednesday in the port of Mocimboa da Praia, located in northern Mozambique. An area rich in gas, already targeted by several attacks.
The terrorists took control of Mocimboa da Praia, a strategic port in northern Mozambique, on Wednesday, August 12, according to the local news site Moz24Horas.
Information was confirmed to AFP by a military source indicating that “Mocimboa da Praia fell” into the hands of the jihadists.
With the help of a rocket launcher, the jihadists hit a boat in the harbor, according to the military source, who acknowledged that “the situation is complicated”.
The Mozambique Defense Forces (SDF) confirmed in the evening that “terrorists” launched “coordinated attacks” on several villages near the port last week in an attempt to occupy the city.
“Operations are currently underway to neutralize the terrorists who use the populations of these regions as shields,” the SDF said in a statement.
A gas-rich area aimed at attacks
The port of Mocimboa da Praia, located in the province of Cabo Delgado, is located about 80 km south of the Afungi Peninsula, where there are important facilities for the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG), one of the major investments in Africa in which the French group Total participates.
The port is currently used for these gas activities, hence its importance in the region.
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In late June, gunmen killed eight workers from a private construction company working for Total on their multi-billion dollar gas project in the province of Cabo Delgado.
At the same time, jihadists had already attacked and temporarily occupied Mocimboa da Praia. An earlier occupation of the city, a few months earlier, had caused a massive exodus of its inhabitants.
North of Mozambique has been the scene since 2017 of a jihadist uprising that killed thousands of people and hindered the development of the exploitation of its offshore gas reserves.
Attacks by workers working on liquefied natural gas development projects have been rare so far.
Attacks in this region have already killed at least 1,300 people, according to the NGO The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).
In its latest report published on Wednesday, ACLED writes that “the uprisings and government security forces have collided more or less consistently in the region since the evening of 5 August”.
In May, the UN estimated the number of people displaced by the attacks at at least 210,000.
Despite concerns in the region, Total has said it will continue with its $ 23 billion gas project.