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The north-south divide reverses

While northern Cabo Delgado province may be safe enough for gas investors, the south and centre are have been hit by a new wave of violence

Good afternoon. Three years ago, when French energy giant TotalEnergies halted work on its giant liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Cabo Delgado province, the northern coastal part of the province was overrun by Islamic State-backed insurgents. The town of Mocímboa da Praia, less than 70km away from the project site on the Afungi peninsula, was in insurgent hands, their biggest prize to date, and was several months away from being recaptured. Meanwhile, the south of the province, where the provincial capital of Pemba is located, was at peace.

These days, TotalEnergies is saying that the security situation has improved enough for it to restart work on its project, known as Mozambique LNG, and is expected to announce that restart imminently. And indeed security has improved, in the vicinity of the gas project, but the overall picture has not so much improved as reversed. Mocímboa town and the surrounding district have been fairly peaceful recently, notwithstanding the fact that many insurgents are thought to come from the area and have family ties there.

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