Rwandan military retakes port city in gas-rich Mozambique
The Rwanda military said August 8 that it captured a port city in gas-rich Mozambique, where terrorist groups are threatening the economic lifeline promsed by an integrated LNG project.
The Rwandan ministry of defence said through its Twitter handle that it captured the Mozambique port city of Macimboa da Praia from insurgents. With support from Mozambique security forces, the Rwandans described the port city as a “stronghold of the insurgency for more than two years.”
That followed the US State Department's description of five individuals as “specially designated global terrorists.” All five are alleged members of the Mozambique arm of the Islamic State or groups affiliated to it.
In an August 6 statement, US secretary of state Anthony Blinken said the US government is using the designation as a means to disrupt the finances of terrorists and terrorist groups in Mozambique.
“Addressing the terrorist threat across the continent will require working closely with our partners to degrade the capacity and operations of these terrorist groups, combating their control and influence in west, east and southern Africa,” he added.
Mozambique is rich in natural gas. French major TotalEnergies has made a final investment decision on a 12.88mn mt/y LNG export facility although it has withdrawn its workforce.
ExxonMobil and Italian energy company Eni were also expected to take FID last year for the 15.2mn mt/y Rovuma LNG facility, but held off in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and now armed conflict.
The government was expected to earn $100bn over 25 years from these developments, a huge sum given that its annual GDP stands at $15bn. The insurgency, however, has stopped any major development indefinitely, putting a huge question mark over the projects.