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People fleeing attackers violence. Photo: Voa Portugues
The American oil and gas company Anadarko, which is the operator of Offshore Area One of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, has confirmed one dead and six people wounded during an attack carried out by unknown gunmen on Thursday.
According to Anadarko, there were two related attacks that occurred on the road from Mocimboa da Praia to Afungi at about 5 p.m. local time. They occurred about 20 kilometres from the construction site.
The attacks began in October 2017 in Mocimboa da Praia district, when terrorists often referred to locally as “Al Shabaab”, although they have no known affiliation with the Somali group of that name, began killing people and destroying homes claiming that they wanted to establish an Islamic state.
“The first (attack) involved a convoy where six contract personnel sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were either treated or are receiving treatment, and we have accounted for all personnel. Tragically, the second attack, which involved the firm contracted to construct an airstrip for the project, resulted in one fatality”, reads a press release posted on Anadarko’s website.
The deceased was an employee from the contractor Gabriel Couto.
Anadarko notes that being safety, security and well-being of its employees top priority, it has placed the construction on lockdown, and is not prepared to discuss specific security measures.
“We are still working to gather information and continue to actively monitor the situation. We also remain in close contact with government authorities to ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect our workforce. Until we have a full picture of yesterday’s (Thursday 21) events, it would be premature to comment further”, says the company.
On Friday, the Interior Minister Basílio Monteiro confirmed the attacks perpetrated against a convoy of Anadarko’s convoy in the village of Matapata.
The Minister says that the attacks killed two people and left four wounded.
“We are determined to do everything to make sure an act like this does not happen again”, said the Monteiro, who was speaking at the press conference, in Maputo.
He reassured that the police would step up its operations and means to ensure the protection of all camping sites and workplaces of oil and gas and related companies.
‘We will deploy units from defence and security forces in the operations theatre. We would like to appeal to everyone to remain calm and believe, because it is true, that everything will be and is under control”, he said.
To make his point, he announced shortly after the attack the defence and security forces launched a manhunt that led to capture of four individuals belonging to group of unknown armed men.
These attacks may be a cause of concern for the Mozambican government which is expecting Anadarko to sign the Final Investment Decision (FID) very soon following a string of Sales and Purchase Agreements signed over the last weeks.
Anadarko holds a 26.5 per cent stake in Area One. Its partners in the consortium are Mitsui of Japan (20 per cent), the Indian companies ONG Videsh, Beas Rovuma Energy, and BRPL Ventures Mozambique (each with 10 per cent), PTTEP of Thailand (8.5 per cent), and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), with the remaining 15 per cent.Source: AIM
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