Each month Castor Vali produces a Mozambique security assessment as part of our Mozambique Information Service. This includes a security assessment relating to politics, economics, safety and security.
In our earlier article, “Mozambique Security Report“, we provided an overview of the key risk factors identified at the beginning of February. In this article, we drill down into the key developments and political assessment.
Key Mozambique Security Developments in January
- Tropical Storm Eloise made landfall in Beira, Sofala province, on 23 January.
- South Africa expressed concern on 20 January over the government’s management of the counterinsurgency in Cabo Delgado province.
- Italian hydrocarbon company Eni announced its intention to resume various offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG)-related activities at its Coral South Project, according to reports from 06 January.
- Islamist militants launched their first attack within a designated LNG site in Cabo Delgado province on 01 January.
Mozambique Political Security Assessment – al-Sunnah Insurgency
The political landscape has been dominated by issues related to the insurgency by the al-Sunnah Islamist militant group in Cabo Delgado province, and its impact on the nascent liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.
On 01 January, Islamist militants launched their first attack within a designated LNG site in the Palma district of Cabo Delgado province.
As per a 05 January police statement, officials from the rapid intervention police unit (UIR) had received a tip-off. The tip-off suggested that there were informants and al-Sunnah militants in three properties in the village of Quitunda – a resettlement area located in the concession or “DUAT” owned by energy multinational Total. Upon arriving at the properties, the suspects opened fire, prompting the UIR to respond. One informant was fatally shot during the exchange, while a militant and a police officer were wounded. Unverified local reports also claimed that militants attacked a UIR checkpoint on the road leading to the DUAT on 01 January; the incursion was repelled.
The developments in Quitunda prompted the most drastic response yet to the prevailing insecurity by an investor in the country’s LNG sector. This occurred on 02 January. Total confirmed that it had evacuated staff from the DUAT to Maputo for an indefinite period. Those that remained in the DUAT were placed under a strict stay-at-home order while construction activities were suspended, also for an indefinite period.
Since the attack, the government has scrambled to bolster security in the Afungi peninsula, and Cabo Delgado province at large, while seeking to persuade Total to resume operations as soon as possible. However, this has reportedly been rebuffed by Total, which is seeking to independently secure its facilities due to the government’s apparent intent to maintain its monopoly on the security of the LNG sector.
Counterinsurgency in Cabo Delgado province
Elsewhere, potential state allies have expressed concern over the government’s management of the counterinsurgency in Cabo Delgado province. In a discussion on 20 January, South African international relations and cooperation minister Naledi Pandor claimed that Mozambique has yet to specify the nature of the assistance that it seeks. Hence, neither South Africa nor the SADC regional body has been able to offer any concrete assistance to Mozambique.
The remarks by Pandor were the latest pointing to the poor management of the insurgency by Mozambique. It also highlighted the inadequate communication with allies. Until this is resolved, allies may continue to be reluctant to offer concrete assistance to the country. This will continue to limit the effectiveness of the counter-insurgency.
More Information about the Mozambique Security Information Report
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