The European Union is planning a five-fold increase in financial support to an African military mission in Mozambique, an internal EU document shows, as Islamist attacks threaten gas projects meant to reduce the EU’s reliance on Russian energy.
The energy squeeze due to the Ukraine war has added impetus to Europe’s scramble for gas off Mozambique’s northern coast, where Western oil firms are planning to build a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.
The move also comes as the West seeks to counter Russian and Chinese influence in the southern African nation, three years after Russian private military firm Wagner withdrew most of its forces following a string of defeats by Islamist militants.
Mozambique has been grappling with militants linked to the Islamic State in its northernmost gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado since 2017, near LNG projects worth billions of dollars.
A southern African military mission and a separate intervention by troops from Rwanda have between them managed to contain the militants’ spread since being deployed last year.
But “the situation remains very volatile and smaller-scale violent attacks have continued in various districts,” the EU document dated Aug. 10 said.