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Japan pledges to help Mozambique fight "terrorism"

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a joint press conference ...   -  
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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Thursday to help Mozambique counter a jihadist insurgency in the north of the country.

Mozambique's northernmost gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado is battling an insurgency led by militants linked to the Islamic State group.

"Japan will help financially in the fight against terrorism," Kishida said at a news conference in the capital Maputo, the latest stop on his Africa tour.

"Security is paramount for the operations of Japanese companies in the north of the country," he added.

Mozambique has placed high hopes on vast natural gas deposits - the largest discovered south of the Sahara - found in the Muslim-majority northern province in 2010.

If all the fields are exploited, Mozambique could become one of the world's top ten gas exporting countries, according to estimates.

But the insurgency of the past five years, which has killed more than 4,600 people, has cast doubt on the project.

Japanese conglomerate Mitsui has a 20 percent stake in a $20 billion (€18 billion) gas project led by French giant TotalEnergies, which has been suspended since 2021 following a jihadist attack on the nearby coastal town of Palma.

Last week, Mozambique's president, Filipe Nyusi, said conditions were right for the resumption of work, but TotalEnergies has not yet committed to restarting the project.

Mozambique's foreign minister, Veronica Macamo, announced that Japan would provide the African nation with air navigation equipment worth about $22.5 million (€20.4 million) and a surveillance vessel worth $830,000 (€750,000).

Japan is the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), a title it normally shares with China.

Fumio Kishida said Tokyo intends to deepen its relations with Maputo ", especially in the energy sector".

He also visited Ghana, Egypt and Kenya.

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