Mozambique troops repel Islamists attacking village near gas site

Jihadists have caused havoc in Cabo Delgado over the past three years, ravaging villages as part of a campaign to establish an Islamist caliphate
·1 min read

Mozambican soldiers on Thursday repelled Islamist militants that attacked and occupied a northern village in their closest raid yet to a giant gas project, military sources said.

The jihadists launched the assault late Monday on the village of Mute, located about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Afungi peninsula.

The peninsula is the centre of a multi-billion-dollar scheme to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Cabo Delgado province, where 2,400 people have been reported killed and a million displaced over the last three years in an escalating jihadist insurgency.

"Following two days of intense fighting, we managed to retake" the village on Thursday, a military source in the gas hub town of Palma told AFP.

Mute lies in a buffer zone between the gas project and the jihadist-controlled port of Mocimboa da Praia.

The attack allegedly prompted energy giant Total to temporarily suspend construction work on the LNG support infrastructure.

The French company did not respond to a question about whether its activities were suspended, only saying it "is closely monitoring the situation in Cabo Delgado".

"The security of Mozambique LNG project workforce and activities is our absolute priority. Total remains in permanent contact with Mozambican authorities on this subject," it told AFP.

A security source said Total will soon resume normal activities because the attack was considered a "threat of small proportions".

Last year the company signed a security agreement with Mozambique to protect the multi-billion-dollar gas project in the restive northern province.