1. Prospecting for Oil to Begin in Inhambane Province

Mozambique’s Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) and Mozgas Energy Lta have just announced their intention to start proceedings to acquire 2D seismic data and execute research and evaluation wells to determine hydrocarbon potential in the Mazenga block in Inhambane province. A number of public consultation meetings with residents in Inhambane, Panda, Morrumbene, Massinga, Funhalouro, Vilanculos and Maputo are scheduled for the next few days. These meetings aim to inform the public about the project and solicit concerns and suggestions from civil society and government institutions about the project and the Environmental Pre-feasibility and Scoping Study (EPDA/EPDA).

Located in Mozambique’s sedimentary basin, the Mazenga block is 80 percent owned by MozGas, with the remaining 20 percent owned by ENH. The Mazenga block was concessioned in 2020. During the first sub-period of research, the concessionaire undertakes to reprocess and re-interpret 3,000 km of two-dimensional (2D) seismic data; acquire 15,000 km of aeromagnetic and gravimetric data; acquire 1,500 km of 2D seismic data; and carry out geological and geophysical studies. In the second sub-period, the concessionaire must ensure the drilling of at least one research well to a depth of 2,500 m or until the formation of the Domo, as well as carrying out the geological and geophysical studies.

The Mozambique Sedimentary Basin covers almost the entire southern region of the country and a part of the central area, being composed of geological formations that have a high probability of holding oil or gas. ENH, in partnership with the Indonesian company Buzi Hydrocarbons PTE Limitada (BHPL) has been carrying out tests to confirm the commercial viability of a recently made discovery since the end of August.


2. President Nyusi on Official Visit to Brussels

On a three-day visit to Brussels for meetings with European Union (EU) leaders between Monday (07.02) and Wednesday, the Mozambican head of state met with Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the European Commissioners for International Partnerships and Crisis Management, and all listened to assurances of EU support for Mozambique. After receiving Nyusi, Vice-President Timmermans said the EU would step up cooperation with Mozambique in the field of pollution and water management to support the country’s capabilities to tackle climate change, which, he pointed out, has already made its impact felt.

Also the Commissioner responsible for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, used Twitter to report “a very constructive discussion with the PR of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi today in Brussels”. “I have guaranteed the EU’s continued humanitarian support to the most vulnerable, especially in Cabo Delgado, while underlining our willingness to support building the resilience of the Mozambican population,” he wrote.

On Monday, Nyusi had already been greeted by Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen at a meeting where the EU-Africa summit scheduled for next week in Brussels was also addressed. “We have exchanged views on a number of common priorities: messages for the upcoming EU-Africa Summit, pandemic response, security cooperation and opportunities for enhanced partnership,” she said on her Twitter account.

Nyusi, who is accompanied on this trip by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Manuel Gonçalves, also met on Tuesday afternoon with the President of the European Council. However, Charles Michel’s office has not yet provided any information on the issues addressed at the meeting held at the Council’s office.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi called on the European Union for the need to fund Rwandan military forces and SADC in the fight against insurgents in Cabo Delgado. “The fight involves high costs for our partners,” he said. “They will not continue for long, for life and operations can be affected” if there is no support. “The European Union is aware,” Nyusi added at a press conference outside Brussels. “In a few days we will certainly have support for the level of equipment that the EU uses in Cameroon,” he said, without further details.


3. Catholic Church Personnel Report Continuing Atrocities as Attacks Escalate

The Pontifical Foundation Aid for the Church in Need (ACN) has received reports from missionaries in Cabo Delgado Province, who warn of armed attacks and “systematic kidnapping of people.” “There is the systematic abduction of people who are in the villages and machambas, especially women and mothers with their own children,” said a religious on a mission in Cabo Delgado who, for security reasons, asks not to be identified. The missionary explains that the village of Macomia “is under very strong tension”, and “many villages in the vicinity were attacked”. Armed groups attack villages, burn houses, kidnap and kill people and the feeling of insecurity is very great.

The religious explains that the problem is now “more serious”, because at the beginning “of this absurd conflict”, people could go out and “take refuge in their machambas or in places chosen as being safe. Now the insurgents follow the people to the machambas, they are stripped of food for subsistence and some are killed in a cruel way,” he added.

Speaking to ACN, Father Eduardo Paixão, a Brazilian missionary who is in the Parish of St. Anthony in Metuge, Pemba, explained that the population “is very afraid” and that the number of families on the run has increased. “This week, in Chiure, in one of the IDP camps, more than 290 families arrived,” which is about 1,000 people, he said.

“On December 30 and 31, attacks began on the village of Nangololo, from Imbada, and then spread during the first week of 2022 to the villages of Mariri, near Muària, and which had a large school, the largest school in the district of Meluco,” said the head of the Meluco missionary area in the Diocese of Pemba. According to the Sacred Heart missionary, the village of Mariri “was attacked, houses burned,” and the following week they attacked five more villages in the district of Meluco.

CAN says that there are records of attacks on the district of Macomia, in the villages Nova Zambézia, Nova Vida, Nkoe, Nanjaba, Imbada, Bangala 2, and Iba, on the border with Meluco, and in addition to violence also cut power and communications.

And on 9 January the Chairperson of the Catholic Parish of Imbhuo (Mr Atanasio) in the village of Muea and the son of the Chairperson of the Catholic Parish of Namuembe (Manuel Cosme) were killed in their machamba’s (fields) in two separate attacks.

Attacks continue elsewhere. An armed group killed four fishermen in a coastal town of Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, according to local sources cited by Lusa news agency on Monday (08.02). The victims were killed on Nagulue beach in Mucojo, Macomia district, which since September has been one of those affected by attacks attributed to insurgents fleeing the Mozambican and international military offensive to the north, in Mocímboa da Praia and Palma. According to a source, fishermen were preparing to use sailing boats and were surprised. Then the attackers “burned the boats. It was serious what happened,” he lamented. It was the second attack in three days.

According to reports, among the dead is a displaced man from Palma. In addition to the four victims, a fifth escaped or has been kidnapped.

The attack in Mucojo came after another on Saturday in Macomia district, in which armed insurgents attacked two trucks carrying material to rebuild bridges over the Messalo River. One driver was killed and another is still missing.

The reports from Catholic Church sources fly in the face of pronouncements by military and political leaders – most recently during the past week the Commander General of the Mozambican Police, Bernardino Rafael, “guaranteed” the safety of returning IDP’s, during a ceremony in Palma (https://defesamoz.info ).


4. TOTAL Delays Return to Afungi

Executive chairman of French oil company Totalenergies warned on 10 January that the company will only resume operations in Mozambique when the populations are safe and there are assurances that they will not have to leave again. “We have not decided at all to abandon the project, but we will only return when we are convinced that we can basically return, but not to leave after six months, because that is the end of the matter,” he said. Quoted by the French news agency, France-Presse (AFP), Patrick Pouyanné stressed that the company “does not intend to abandon the project at all” and is willing to “wait as long as it takes”, but added: “We will only go when we consider that there are security conditions, not only of the place, but also of the population, and that stability and lasting peace have returned to Cabo Delgado.”

“I am optimistic,” Pouyanné said of the resumption of work, albeit without compromise. The CEO of Totalenergies said that when he returns to Mozambique he wants to be able to go “to Palma, Mocímboa da Praia and Mueda: when he sees that life is back to normal, with state services and population, then the project can start over”, he said

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