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File photo: Lusa
The general director of Portuguese construction company Gabriel Couto in Mozambique has told Lusa that there has been an increase in security enabling them to continue their operations in the north of the country, an area affected by armed groups.
“The project had been suspended, but security measures have been reinforced and our entire team is doing well,” Carlos Neto said in relation to the construction projects connected to the natural gas exploitation on the Afungi peninsula in the district of Palma, Cabo Delgado province.
The security measures themselves were not implemented by the company “but by the project leader”, oil company Anadarko.
“(..) I would not like to say any more about them [the security measures], because it is something which goes above us,” added the director general. “Our people are our main focus. We have to make sure our employees are safe and that’s the most important thing,” he added.
Carlos Neto was speaking in Maputo on the sidelines of a donation to the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) for victims of the cyclones in Mozambique organised by the company.
The company mobilised donations such as clothing, food, school supplies and other necessities in Portugal, amassing a total of 16 tons of articles, and plans to send a further two containers of various products, as well as helping with the reconstruction of Beira Central Hospital.
Gabriel Couto has 100 employees in the province of Cabo Delgado and has been operating in Mozambique for more than two decades.
In February, a Mozambican driver of this firm was murdered by gunmen suspected of being linked to groups that have terrorised the region since October 2017.
“In line with its human and humanitarian policy, the company will continue to help the family of this employee,” added Carlos Neto.
The company is one of those subcontracted by the consortia of oil companies building infrastructure associated with the exploitation of natural gas in the region and expected to come online in 2024.
The firm is responsible for building an airstrip to serve what will be the largest foreign investment ever in Mozambique.
Attacks by armed groups allegedly originating in mosques in Cabo Delgado have killed at least 150 people since October 2107, and have risen to a new pitch this month. At least 10 residents died during raids in May, the attacks also constraining the distribution of humanitarian aid associated with Cyclone Kenneth.
One of the latest attacks, on May 10, hit public transport between Mocímboa da Praia and Palma, leaving one dead, another kidnapped, and a subcontracted project worker, who spent the night hiding in the bush, injured with a gunshot wound to the leg.
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