Mozambique said its security forces repelled an attack by Islamist insurgents on a town close to the site where Total SE is building a $20 billion natural gas facility.
The attack took place about 21 kilometres (13 miles) from Total’s project overnight on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defense, and is the second this month on the town of Mute in the northern Cabo Delgado province. It accused the militants of trying to derail the investment.
Fighters who’ve aligned with Islamic State in August have already seized the port town of Mocimboa da Praia, about 42 kilometres south of Mute, raising the stakes in a conflict that’s killed about 2,500 people and caused 570,000 to flee their homes since it started three years ago.
Mozambique’s government has struggled to contain the insurgency and President Filipe Nyusi has faced criticism for refusing outside help. Leaders from the Southern African Development Community are set to meet in January to agree on a plan to prevent the conflict from spilling across across Mozambique’s borders.
By Borges Nhamire and Matthew Hill