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Mozambique troops battle IS to take back Mocimboa da Praia

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Mozambique

Mozambique troops are fighting a battle to take back the control of its crucial port of Mocimboa da Praia after it was reportedly captured by Islamic State group militants on Wednesday. The country’s military is in process to effectively neutralize IS militants who are using local people as shields.

The port city lying in north of country is a crucial asset to Mozambique with natural gas projects in the region worth $60bn. Days into battle to regain control of natural-gas rich port city many soldiers have been killed a patrol boat has sunk. Meanwhile, army has killed around 60 militants as per the reports.

Mocimboa da Praia port is essential for cargo deliveries to offshore projects located approximately 40 miles away being developed by oil giants like Total. Loss of port city is a massive blow to Mozambique’s military as it struggles to mellow down and control the escalating rebellion in gas rich province of Cabo Delgado. IS militants have been progressively taking over towns in northern Mozambique thus displacing thousands of people.

The series of events involving oppression by IS associated militants has split open the weakness of army in Mozambique as well as highlighted the growing sophistication, growth and reach of Islamic rebellion.

The IS group is increasingly becoming a major threat to the region’s integrity and safety. Certain big shot companies in energy sector are seeking extra protection as they embark on Mozambique’s massive off-shore gas fields. Government has reached out for help from foreign security contractors. But it still is reluctant to reach out for military assistance from neighboring countries.

The turmoil in country’s gas rich regions started back in 2017 from northern province of Cabo Delgado. The escalation was however ramified when Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, the group responsible for attacks, pledged its allegiance to IS.

Earlier in week, IS claimed control of two military bases near port city of Mocimboa da Praia. It also took responsibility of killing soldiers, capturing weapons, including machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.

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