Al-Shabab fighters have captured a heavily-guarded port in the Mozambican town of Mocimboa da Praia after several days hot on heels with government forces in the town, Reuters has confirmed.

About 60 kilometres (38 miles) south of the port is where over $60 billion worth of liquefied gas projects are being developed by Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp.

Mozambique has suffered the biggest increase in attacks by Islamist militants globally since last year.

In March this year, unidentified militants weakened and seized the town in a series of attacks that saw a number of northern towns being seized, displacing tens of thousands of people.

The most recent attacks, the militant group stepped up its insurgency in the region by taking over strategic sites such as the Mocimboa da Praia port.

It is reported that after several days of fighting in the port, the well-coordinated rebels overpowered the inadequately maintained Mozambican troops who were low on ammunition. Many of the government soldiers fled the port on foot while others by boats.

Despite the support from a Russian military company, a South African private military company, Tanzania’s border offensive against the jihadists, and Zimbabwean troops supposedly deployed in the region, the large, well-coordinated troops have emerged victorious in the Cabo Delgado region, killing over 1000 and displacing thousands.

The militants call themselves Al-Shabab, although it is unclear whether they are linked to the significantly larger Somali movement of the same name. They recently pledged their allegiance to the IS.