2 May 2018

Mozambique: Rumour of Trafficking in Body Parts Sparks Off Riots

Maputo — The Mozambican police have arrested 17 people following serious rioting on Sunday and Monday in the town of Manhica, about 80 kilometres north of Maputo, when an angry mob attempted to lynch a local businessman, accused of trafficking in human body parts.

The crowd went to the home of the alleged trafficker, after rumours had spread that lifeless bodies, missing some of their organs, had been found in various parts of the town.

According to the permanent secretary of the Manhica district government, Jose Lourenco, interviewed over the phone by the Maputo daily "Noticias", a crowd gathered outside the home of the alleged trafficker on Sunday night. They burnt down the house and set fire to ten vehicles.

The rioting continued into Monday, when the focus switched to the Manhica District Police Command. The crowd demanded that the police hand over the businessman who had fled to the Command in search of protection. They also wanted the release of 11 rioters detained by the police.

The riots brought to a halt traffic along the country's main north-south highway, which runs through the middle of the town. The protester threw up barricades across the road, and the normal flow of traffic was stopped for several hours. Eventually the police resorted to tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The police moved the alleged trafficker in body parts (who has not been named) to what was described as "a safe place".

The first 11 people detained were described as ringleaders of the disturbances. On Monday a further six people were arrested in connection with the barricades. The police say they are interrogating those detained to ascertain the degree of responsibility of each of them for the rioting.

Maputo, 2 May (AIM) - Mozambique's publicly owned National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) has appointed Lazard Frères SAS and Lion's Head Global Partners as advisers to help raise around two billion US dollars to refinance its share of the enormous natural gas projects in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Lazard Freres, headquartered in New York, is a major financial advisory and asset management company. According to a report by the Bloomberg agency, it has been hired to advise ENH on refinancing its share of the Rovuma Basin Area Four project, where the operator is the Italian energy company ENI, which plans to install a floating platform to extract an process natural gas from the Coral South gas field. ENH has a ten per cent interest in Area Four.

Lion's Head is a London-based financial services company which will assist ENH in raising the funds for its 15 per cent share in Area One of the Rovuma Basin, where the operator is the US company, Anadarko. This project plans to build liquefied natural gas factories onshore, on the Afungi peninsula in Palma district.

ENH Chairperson Omar Mitha told Bloomberg that ENH will also hire the French bank Societe Generale to assist in refinancing its share of the Anadarko project.

"We need to put that in place", said Mitha. "It's extremely urgent".

ENH had initially depended on its partners in the gas concessions to finance its portion of equity as it was unable to raise the money itself at the end of 2014 because of poor market conditions - at the time there seemed to be a glut in natural gas supplies.

The market has since improved, Bloomberg says, and ENH is betting investors will see the projects as being less risky as progress has been made developing them and natural gas prices have rebounded.

The World Bank has provided ENH with support to hire these financial advisers as part of the Bank's Mozambique Mining and Gas Technical Assistance Project, Mitha said.

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