Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Maputo — Total will restart construction at its $20bn liquefied natural gas (LNG) development in Mozambique after the government increased security, the French energy giant said on Wednesday.

In January, Total withdrew most of its workforce from the site in Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, where there has been an insurgency, now linked to Islamic State, since 2017, after an attack nearby.

The company asked the government for additional security measures, including a 25km secure buffer zone around the site.

It said this has now been implemented, allowing for the “gradual remobilisation” of the project’s workforce and a resumption of construction work.

“The government of Mozambique has declared the area within a 25km perimeter surrounding the Mozambique LNG project as a special security area,” Total said in a statement.

It added that other measures, including the reinforcement of security infrastructure and strengthening of Mozambique’s security forces, had also been implemented.

Total said control of the 25km zone remains ensured exclusively by Mozambique’s public security forces, and that the government has committed to the personnel assigned to protect the project acting in line with international human rights standards.

Amnesty International has accused both government forces and insurgents of committing war crimes in the province, where insurgents have stepped up their attacks over the past year.

In 2020 the group began regularly taking over entire towns.

The conflict has killed more than 2,500 people, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a consultancy that tracks political violence.

Some 700,000 more have been forced from their homes, according to estimates by the UN.



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