Security forces from Rwanda and Mozambique have taken the Mozambican port city of Mocímboa da Praia from insurgents, whose attacks in the area forced France’s giant TotalEnergies to suspend a $20-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project earlier this year.
“The port city of Mocímboa da Praia, a major stronghold of the insurgency for more than two years has been captured by Rwandan and Mozambican security forces. The city also holds the District Headquarters and Airport,” the Ministry of Defense of Rwanda tweeted on Sunday.
“It’s necessary to wait and see the frequency of new attacks and where they will occur,” Calton Cadeado, a researcher at Joaquim Chissano University in Maputo, told Bloomberg. “If these are far from the area of resource exploitation, then we can say that the conquest is consolidated and LNG projects can resume with relative safety,” Cadeado added.
The area, which insurgents affiliated with Islamic State had held for over a year, is close to several major resource developments, including TotalEnergies’ LNG project.
With insurgents attacking areas in the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique over the past year, TotalEnergies had to withdraw in April all Mozambique LNG project personnel from the Afungi site. The supermajor also declared force majeure on the project.
In March, the militants had raided the town of Palma in the Cabo Delgado province in attacks that left dozens of people killed.
Following the renewed attacks in April, TotalEnergies said at the end of March that it had postponed the restart of the construction activities at the LNG project site. None of the project staff were among the victims, TotalEnergies said on March 27 this year.
The TotalEnergies-led Mozambique LNG Project, for which the $20-billion Final Investment Decision (FDI) was taken back in 2019, is currently on track to deliver first LNG in 2024, TotalEnergies says.