Mozambican government forces and insurgents linked to ISIS are bracing for a fierce battle in the town of Mueda in the northeastern province of Cabo Delgado, where a multi-billion gas project is under construction.
The insurgency, which began in October of 2017, intensified this year. Two weeks ago, the militants beheaded more than 50 people in Muatide village.
Most of the insurgents are members of a radical Islamic group known as al-Shabab. The group, that is not related to a Somali faction with the same name, joined ISIS Central Africa Province in June of last year.
A few months ago, the insurgents captured the town of Mocimboa da Paria after a series of bloody attacks. The town was used a port to deliver supplies for a large gas exploration project in Cabo Delgado with the cost of $60 bn.
Now, the insurgents are reportedly eyeing Mueda. The town is located on a highway that connects the northern part of the province of Cabo Delgado with the rest of the country. The insurgents have already captured Muidumbe, less than 38 km to the southeast of Mueda.
— Requ (@Just_Requ) November 19, 2020
Mozambican government forces, who are commanding the operations against the insurgency in Cabo Delgado from Mueda, are reportedly preparing to launch an attack to push the insurgents away from the town.
Government forces failed to save Mocimboa da Paria before. If Mueda falls in a similar way, the nearby coastal areas, including Palma will be completely cut off from land supplies. In the outskirts of Palma, there are infrastructure facilities for the international LNG project, which was provided with $ 14.9 billion financing in July.
According to the UN, Mueda is now hosting many refugees who fled insurgents attacks in other parts of Cab Delgado. More than 14,300 people were displaced by the insurgency last month only.
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