57. Angola/Cabinda (1975-present)

 

Conflict Phase (August 1, 1975-August 1, 2006):  The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) headed by Luis de Ganzaga Ranque Franque and Francois-Xavier Lubota declared the independence of the enclave of Cabinda in Kampala, Uganda on August 1, 1975. The FLEC appointed a provisional government-in-exile headed by Luis de Ganzaga Ranque Franque as president and Francois-Xavier Lubota as prime minister on August 13, 1975.  Some 400 FLEC rebels clashed with Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola-MPLA) troops in Cabinda on November 9, 1975.  Antonio Agostinho Neto, leader of the MPLA, proclaimed the People’s Republic of Angola on November 11, 1975.

Angolan government troops were deployed in Cabinda province on January 4, 1976.  Government troops clashes with FLEC rebels in northern Cabinda province on June June 11-14, 1977, resulting in the deaths of several individuals.  Government troops and FLEC rebels clashed near Pangamongo, Tando-Makuku, and Seva on July 27, 1979, resulting in the deaths of seven rebels.  Some 8,000 Cuban troops and East German troops were deployed in Cabinda province in support of the government beginning in 1976. FLEC rebels killed two East German soldiers and three Cuban soldiers near Inhuca and Buco Zau province in Cabinda province on August 20, 1979.  On May 22, 1981, six individuals were sentenced to death for belonging to FLEC in Cabinda province.  Some 8,000 refugees returned to Cabinda province following an unofficial amnesty by the Angolan government in 1983.  In the early 1990s, FLEC divided into two factions:  FLEC-Renovada (or FLEC-R) and FLEC-Armed Forces of Cabinda (or FLEC-FAC).  Legislative elections were held in Angola, including the Cabinda province, on September 29-30, 1992.  The FLEC called for a boycott of the elections in Cabinda province.  The Angolan government deployed some 15,000 troops to Cabinda province in January 1993.  Representatives of the government and FLEC-R signed a ceasefire agreement on September 29, 1995.  Congo-Brazzaville facilitated negotiations between government and FLEC-R representatives in Brazzaville on February 25-26, 1996, and the parties agreed to extend the ceasefire.  Angolan government troops clashed with FLEC rebels on December 11, 1996, resulting in the deaths of 29 individuals.  António Bento Bembe was elected leader of FLEC-R on February 5, 1997.  Angolan government troops clashed with FLEC rebels in Cabinda province on March 5, 1997, resulting in the deaths of 42 government soldiers.  Government troops and FLEC-FAC rebels clashed in northeastern Cabinda province on March 26, 1997, resulting in the deaths of 27 government soldiers and two FLEC-FAC rebels.  More than 100 individuals were killed during clashes between government troops and Cabinda rebels on June 10-20, 1997.  Angolan government troops clashed with FLEC rebels in Cabinda province on January 8, 1998, resulting in the deaths of 24 government soldiers.  FLEC-FAC rebels attacked two civilian vehicles in Cabinda province on March 28, 1998, resulting in the death of one individual.  FLEC rebels killed 11 government soldiers in Cabinda province on November 24, 1998.  FLEC rebels attacked the village of Bulo in Cabinda province on June 14, 1999, resulting in the deaths of four civilians.  Angolan government troops clashed with FLEC rebels in Cabinda province on April 18, 2002, resulting in the deaths of 12 government soldiers.  Some 40,000 government troops launched a military offensive against FLEC rebels on September 20, 2002.  Government troops killed two civilians in Buco Zau district in Cabinda province on Jun 17, 2003.  FLEC rebels ambushed government troops in Buco Zau district on December 24, 2003, resulting in the deaths of three government soldiers and three civilians.  The two factions of FLEC merged on September 6, 2004.  Representatives of the Angolan government and António Bento Bembe, President of Cabindan Forum for Dialogue and Peace (CFDP) and Vice-President of FLEC-R, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Peace and Reconciliation with the Angolan government in Namibe, Angola on August 1, 2006.  Some 2,500 individuals were killed, and some 25,000 individuals fled as refugees to Congo-Brazzaville during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (August 2, 2006-present):  FLEC rebels killed three government soldiers in an attack in Cabinda on March 3, 2008.  Legislative elections were held in Angola, including Cabinda province, on September 5-6, 2008.  FLEC called for a boycott of the elections.  Two individuals were killed when the bus for the Togo national football team came under fire by members of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) in Cabinda province n January 8, 2010.  Exiled leaders of FLEC called an end to the armed struggle against the Angolan government on July 9, 2010, but but other FLEC leaders denied that the conflict had been ended.  Two Angolan government soldiers were killed when a convoy of Chinese workers was attacked by members of the FLEC in Cabinda province on November 8, 2010.  Joao Antonio Pauti was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison for his involvement in the January 2010 attack on the bus carrying the Togo national football team in Cabinda province.  Legislative elections were held in Angola, including Cabinda province, on August 31, 2012.  FLEC did not call for a boycott of the elections.

[Sources: Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), October 1-31, 1979; Agence France-Presse (AFP), September 20, 2002; Arnold et al., 1991, 10-14; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), November 29, 1998, April 20, 2002, September 20, 2002, October 30, 2002, July 10, 2006, August 1, 2006, March 7, 2008, January 9, 2010, January 12, 2010, November 12, 2010, December 22, 2010, December 29, 2010; Degenhardt, 1988, 8-12; Facts on File, August 16, 1975; Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), February 27, 1996; Keesing’s Record of World Events, December 22-31, 1975; New York Times (NYT), August 2, 1975, November 10, 1975, June 15, 1977, May 24, 1981, December 31, 2002, January 10, 2010; Reuters, August 1, 2006, September 3, 2008, October 9, 2008, January 9, 2010, January 10, 2010, January 11, 2010, January 17, 2010, July 9, 2010, August 6, 2010, August 6, 2012; Voice of America (VOA), September 26, 2012.]

 

Selected Bibliography

Dos Santos, Daniel. 1983. “Cabinda: The Politics of Oil in Angola’s Enclave,” In Robin Cohen, editor. African Islands and Enclaves, London and Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 101-118.