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Cabo Delgado: Syrah Resources Suspends Logistics Operations at Balama Mine Following Terrorist Attacks

Cabo Delgado: Syrah Resources Suspends Logistics Operations at Balama Mine Following Terrorist Attacks

Armed groups terrorising Cabo Delgado on Tuesday killed four people in an attack in Ancuabe district, including two security guards from the Grafex company, which exploits graffiti in the region. The report was made this Thursday, June 9, by local sources.

The incident, following another on Sunday, led another company that exploits graphite, Australian company Syrah Resources, to suspend logistics operations on the road linking the Balama mine to the capital Pemba and the port of Nacala to supply manufacturers of batteries for electric cars in other countries.

“Two guards were killed by the insurgents at dawn [Tuesday],” a source from the family of one of the security guards killed told Lusa, adding that the victims were beheaded and their bodies abandoned at the scene.

Another source from the local force, a militia fighting the insurgency, said two other people were killed by the rebels at 11am in Muaguide, a remote community in Ancuabe district.

“A couple was killed in the community of Muaguide. We are outraged because this happened in daylight,” he added.

The attacks began on Sunday and are the first reports of violence associated with the insurgency in Ancuabe district, 100 kilometres from Pemba, an area that until now was considered safe and served to shelter displaced people.

It was the President of the Republic himself, Filipe Nyusi, who on Monday confirmed the attack on the village of Nanduli, assuring nevertheless that the security situation was under control “notwithstanding the acts of terrorism that still prevail” with rebels searching for supplies.

On Tuesday, the governor of Cabo Delgado called on the population to return to their homes, also saying that government forces have the situation under control, in an attempt to stop another general stampede towards Pemba or other safe places.

Tauabo was speaking to families who since Sunday have been living out of doors in the village of Metoro, which is 27 kilometres from Ancuabe. But the sense of insecurity has worsened and is having an impact on economic activity in the southern part of Cabo Delgado that had escaped the effects of armed violence that has lasted for four and a half years, especially in the north, near the border with Tanzania.

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“The incidents occurred between 30 and 40 kilometres from the N1 road, the main transport route between the Balama mine, the port of Nacala and Pemba,” Syrah Resources said on Thursday in a statement to the Australian stock exchange about the attacks in Ancuabe district.

“Syrah and its logistics service provider have taken the precautionary measure of suspending all movement of personnel and logistics until more information is available,” with “graphite mining and processing operations not being affected” in Balama, located 200 kilometres from Ancuabe.

It is assumed that the actions in different remote locations in Ancuabe district are triggered by rebels fleeing the military offensive that has been underway since July 2021, with international support, in the far north of Cabo Delgado (Palma, Mocímboa da Praia and Muidumbe districts), in the area of the gas projects.

The province is rich in natural gas, but terrorised since 2017 by armed rebels, with some attacks claimed by the extremist group Islamic State. There are 784,000 internally displaced people due to the conflict, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and around 4,000 deaths, according to the conflict registration project ACLED.

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