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French energy giant Total suspends huge Mozambique project because of insecurity

French energy giant Total is suspending its operations on a multi-billion liquefied natural gas project in northern Mozambique because of ongoing violence in the area caused by an Islamist insurgency.

Total announced Monday it was declaring force majeure —unforeseeable circumstances that prevent it from fulfilling a contract.

“Considering the evolution of the security situation in the north of the Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, Total confirms the withdrawal of all Mozambique LNG project personnel from the Afungi site. This situation leads Total, as operator of Mozambique LNG project, to declare force majeure,” Total said in a press release.

The decision follows an attack by the insurgents, known locally as Shabaab, on the town of Palma late last month, where many sub-contractors for the Afungi project were based.

Dozens of people, including some foreign workers, were killed in the four-day attack and occupation of the town.

US energy firm Exxon last year postponed further investment decisions in Cabo Delgado because of the deteriorating security situation.

According to the United Nations, the insurgency, which began in 2017, has left some 700,000 Mozambicans displaced.

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