Islamic State Claims Bold Raid on Strategic Mozambique Town

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(Bloomberg) -- Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in northern Mozambique near an area where natural-gas projects worth billions of dollars are being developed, SITE Intelligence Group said.

The March 23 raid on the town of Mocimboa da Praia in Cabo Delgado province was carried out by members of Islamic State’s Central Africa Province unit, SITE, which monitors militant groups, said on its website.

The attack was the boldest yet in a series of assaults that began in the same town in October 2017 and has left hundreds of people dead. It’s also raised risks for companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Total SA, which are building LNG-export projects estimated to cost almost $60 billion. Mocimboa da Praia, a coastal town situated in a district that’s home to 130,000 people, is about 60 kilometers (38 miles) from the LNG projects and along the road that connects them to the rest of Mozambique.

Militants took over the town in the pre-dawn raid, destroying various infrastructure and burning vehicles, before withdrawing later that night. Mozambique’s defense and interior ministers visited the scene the next day, and calm is slowly returning to the town, state-owned Radio Mocambique reported, citing Council of Ministers spokesman Filimão Suzi. Officials haven’t said if there were any fatalities.

Islamic State has claimed more than two dozen attacks in Mozambique since announcing its presence in the northern Cabo Delgado province in June.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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