Jihadist massacre is latest threat to £44bn Mozambique gas project

Islamist militants massacred 52 villagers who refused to join their ranks in an escalation of terrorism that is threatening Africa’s largest gas project.

The victims were beheaded or shot in northern Mozambique, home to a £44 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) programme that emboldened jihadists are targeting for an Islamist caliphate.

In recent weeks the insurgents have scored their biggest triumphs in a 30-month onslaught in the southern African state. A helicopter belonging to a South African private military company, which replaced defeated fighters from Russia, was shot down by the militants. Islamic State, which put out a video claiming responsibility, is feared to have ambitions to establish “franchise” operations in Africa’s conflict zones.