Insurgents reached the gates of the Afungi LNG project on Friday 1 January. After a series of ever closer attacks, Total evacuated most of its staff from Afungi and Palma last week. Fighting continued yesterday, and the military has banned sea traffic to Afungi and Palma.
Insurgents have been moving north and closing in on Afungi:
+ Since August insurgents have controlled Mocimboa da Praia, 55 km south of Afungi.
+ 9 December: insurgents attacked Mute (also Muite), 21 km south of Afungi. The insurgents then were repelled with the assistance of DAG (mercenary) helicopters. President Filipe Nyusi personally confirmed the attack and went on to say “Three days ago, the enemy wanted to approach Afungi. But thanks to our young people they were unsuccessful. Our young fighters have been accepting their role in this combat." But he spoke too soon.
+ 24 December: Insurgents returned to Mute, burning houses and taking food. The group of 80-120 insurgents was again ousted after heavy fighting, with deaths and injuries.
+ 29 December: Insurgents attacked Monjane (also called Mondlane) just 5 km south of the Afungi border fence; again there was fighting. A military patrol was ambushed on the road from Monjane north to Patacua on the edge of the Afungi zone, with two military and one insurgent killed. There was also an attack on Olumbe (also Olombe) on the coast 14 km south of the Afungi boundary, with people kidnapped. This accelerated the flight of Total staff. (Bloomberg 29 Dec, 1 Jan; Intelyse 25 Dec; Pinnacle News 29 Dec, 2 Jan; Lusa 10, 29 Dec; AIM 11 Dec)
+ Friday, 1 January: There were attacks on the resettlement village of Quitunda which is in the Total area but outside the fence, and on the Riot Police (UIR) camp on the main road to the Afungi development, just at the gates of the project. There was some fighting and casualties, but it is difficult to establish the seriousness of these two attacks. Pinnacle News (2 Jan) reports that the fighting was continuing late yesterday. The rainy season has started and insurgents have been gathering food reserves in most raids, and the UIR camp is the main kitchen for the joint military-police task force.
Insurgents have also left leaflets saying Palma will be attacked on Tuesday 5 January
The map shows the sites of the attacks (purple arrows). The project has a land concession (Duat) which is the 6625 ha inside the yellow line. The blue line encircles the 4371 ha of the actual LNG industrial zone which includes the port, airport and will include gas liquefaction plants. Quituda resettlement village is in orange, within the Duat but outside the industrial zone. Palma town is at the upper left of the map and Mondlane (Monjane) at the bottom.
For more than a week, boats have been banned from travelling between Pemba and Palma, and there are now 12 boats in Pemba harbour, with food, equipment, and even a floating hotel for Afungi. (Pinnacle News 2 Jan)