Mozambique's Nyusi vows 'stability' after jihadists seize key port

Saturday August 15 2020

 

AFP
By AFP
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Maputo.Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi vowed to restore stability to the country's troubled gas-rich northern region Friday, two days after extremist militants seized a key port.

After visiting camps holding some of the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the unrest in Cabo Delgado regional capital Pemba, Nyusi said he would "do everything so that peace and stability are restored".

Jihadists staged a brazen attack on Mocimboa da Praia port on Wednesday, the latest in a string of intensifying assaults in the province.

Mocimboa da Praia is a major traffic hub for natural gas, 60 kilometres (40 miles) to the south of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility -- one of Africa's biggest single investment projects -- on Afungi peninsula.

Mozambican security forces have since Wednesday been engaged in a "tense" battle with the Islamist militants to regain control of the port, according to the defence ministry.

During the visit broadcast live on state television, Nyusi said his government would press on with "sustainable exploitation of the natural gas reserves that open new paths for the development of our country".

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Pemba is about 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of the besieged town of Mocimboa da Praia.

Nyusi applauded "progress" in the construction of a floating platform for LNG production, adding Mozambique "will become an important player in the oil and gas market from 2022".

The president did not directly comment on the recent fighting, which has killed more than 1,500 people and displaced 250,000 -- 10 percent of the total provincial population, according to conflict data provider ACLED.

Jihadist attacks began in 2017 in Mocimboa da Praia and have since spread to massive swathes of Cabo Delgado.

The latest attack -- the third on the town this year -- was claimed by the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).

The IS-affiliated group's stated goal is to establish a caliphate in the region.