Jihadists seize key port in Mozambique

13 Aug 2020

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MAPUTO: Islamist militants occupied a key port in gas-rich northern Mozambique on Wednesday following days of renewed attacks, a military source and local media said.

The port of Mocimboa da Praia lies 80 kilometres south of Afungi peninsula, where a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, one of Africa’s biggest single investment projects, is located.

The port is currently a major traffic hub for the gas project.

The “Islamic State Central Africa Province” (ISCAP), affiliated with the militant Islamic State group (IS), claimed its fighters had captured the port. The group has a stated goal of establishing a caliphate in the region.

It has claimed some other attacks in the region since June last year, often posting images of slain soldiers and seized weapons.

Northern Mozambique has been hit by a jihadist insurgency since 2017 that has killed more than 1,000 people and complicated the country’s plans to develop its offshore gas reserves.

A military source said a rocket-propelled grenade sank a boat owned by former president Armando Guebuza during Wednesday’s assault.

“The situation is complicated,” the source said.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2020