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French Interests Fueling Violence, Devastation In Cabo Delgado’s Gas Zone – Report

Friends of the Earth France, Mozambique and International say in a new report that French interests in the gas mega-projects being developed off the coast of Mozambique is a “a curse for the country”.

In the report entitled, “Gas in Mozambique: A windfall for the industry, a curse for the country”, released on Monday and obtained by HumAngle, the NGO, stated that in a region plagued by escalating conflict, gas exploitation was already turning into a nightmare for the peoples of Cabo Delgado.

Dwelling on corruption, militarisation, worsening climate change impacts and human rights abuses, the report exposes France’s role in a case that began in 2013 with a corruption scandal over a naval contract, that will continue with the signing of the largest investment ever made in sub-Saharan Africa in June 2020.

The report details how French public authorities have spent years working to ensure that the gas and arms industries and their bankers profit from Mozambique’s 60 billion dollar gas windfall, further driving the country into dependence on fossil fuels.

It exposes a true state scandal, involving economic diplomacy, public funding, arms sales, military cooperation and corruption, all these in a region plagued by a conflict that is escalating and has already claimed at least 1,100 lives since October, 2017.

Friends of the Earth France, Mozambique and International call on the French government to put a stop to the diplomacy of chaos, at the service of the fossil fuel and arms industries, starting by ceasing all public aid for exports.

“The fossil fuel industry is peddling a lie that gas can be part of the clean energy transition. In reality, this so-called transition in Mozambique has meant a shift from freedom to human rights violations, from peace to conflict, from communities living well through farming and fishing to starving populations deprived of their livelihoods.

“The gas rush, which is exacerbating the climate crisis and benefiting only transnational corporations and corrupt elites, must stop,” according to Anabela Lemos, Director of Justiça Ambiental (JA!)/Friends of the Earth Mozambique.

In view of the seriousness of the human rights violations and the environmental and climate risks, they call on the French companies involved – private banks such as Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, energy industrialists such as Total – to withdraw from the gas projects off the coast of Mozambique and stop developing any new projects.

“France is determined to ensure that this gas windfall benefits first and foremost its own transnational corporations, even if this means sowing chaos for Mozambique and setting off a climate bomb equivalent to seven times France’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

“ Neither the French government, nor Total and its bankers, seem concerned about the impacts this will have in fuelling climate crisis, local conflict, corruption and human rights violations,” Cécile Marchand, Climate and Corporate Justice Campaigner at Friends of the Earth France.

Cabo Delgado has been under attack by Islamist insurgents for the past three years. Over the past three months they have stepped up their incursion in the province, attacking, occupying and killing scores of people.

In the latest gruesome attacks, they killed 15 local tribesmen and chieftains in the province as well as hundreds of civilians. These operations have driven more than 200 thousand people out of their homes.

Government forces have been slow or unable to counter theses incursions, although Mozambican authorities have claimed big gains, notably killing two of the Islamists top leaders and about 150 jihadists. The government response is helped by foreign mercenaries from Zimbabwe and South Africa.

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