REPUBLIC OF CABINDA
| The Country of Cabinda.
| Cabinda has little to show for its Oil.
| The angola MPLA (comunist) party has since 1975 Robed, Raped and Murdered the Cabindan People.
| Americans Mercenaries.
| Angola desperately needs Cabinda's oil revenues
| Cabinda : Separatists launch offensive Mail&Guardian, 11. August 1997
The Country of Cabinda
The African State of Cabinda is one of the richest regions of this large Continent. Located north of the River Congo, the Republic of Zaire, and the People's Republic of Congo.
Until the fifteenth century the Nation of Cabinda was composed by three kingdoms Kakongo, Ngoyo, and Loango. The portuguese contacted Cabinda in 1482 and were joined by the british and french, mainly for the trade of merchandise and slaves. Commerce was supported by the traditional ideological work of the European church, the sending of missionaries to preach Christianity. The portuguese established themselves on the free port of Tchiowa, later known as Cabinda, which became the aim of the other european colonial powers. The french occupied this port in 1783 and had to face attacks from the dutch and british.
The dispute and the rivalries amongst the european powers allowed the Cabindan Kingdoms to survive any attempt of colonization. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that the portuguese by trickery were able to sign three treaties : Chinfuma in 1883, Chicamba in 1884, and Simulambuco in 1885 , by which the three Kingdoms recognized portuguese sovereignty in exchange for Protection of their Cultural Traditions, their Authority, and the Integrity of their Territory. While Cabinda became a portuguese Protectorate, the country of angola was defined as a portuguese colony by the Berlin Conference in 1884-1885.
The first quarter of the twentieth century in portugal was the scene of a social and political conflict that placed liberals and republicans in opposition to monarchists and conservatives. The country was facing economic disaster. Salazar, called to the government as minister of finance, seized power and installed a, fascist regime with the support of the portuguese Catholic Church. In the 1933 Constitution defining the Estado Novo, Cabinda and angola were considered distinct and separate parts of portugal. However, in 1956, amendments were introduced in the colonial Law and the overseas organic law changing Cabinda's status. it became a "district" of the portuguese "overseas province" of angola, under the same colonial authority, that is to say the General-Governor of angola.
It was during this period that Alvor's political settlement, despite different efforts to tie up the three movements in a sort of government of national unity, failed to fulfill its aims FNLA and UNITA troops and ministers fled the capital, luanda. While the South African army invaded the south, Zairian troops occupied the north with the help of mercenaries engaged by the American CIA (Stockwell,1978). The MPLA alone declared the independence of angola "from Cabinda to cunene" and asked for cuban, help.
However, the historical problem remains: The state apparatus the MPLA took possession of at the moment of independence, as a colonial legacy left to angolans, is an artificial one, as it was built along the lines of european bourgeois interests whose ultimate aims were to support economic exploitation and protect metropolitan profits. This difficulty in dealing with both ethnic problems and colonial borders deriving from the dismembering of former societies and civilizations by the imposition of the capitalist mode of production, is reflected in the MPLA's own position as it is stated in Article 47 of the angolan constitutional law (1975: 32):
The local administration shall be guided by the combined principles of "unity, decentralization and local initiative." One cannot deny the existence of a Cabinda Identity, shown by the Land and Cultural Traditions, but also the Language Fiote .
THE POLITICAL QUESTION
The opposition to angola, especially to the MPLA, in Cabinda is not a recent event. The movement for the liberation of Cabinda led by Luis Ranque Franque was born in 1959, while the Action Committee for the National Union of Cabindans led by N'Zita Henriques Tiago was founded in 1962. Together with the Mayombe Alliance they founded the Liberation Front of Cabinda's Enclave in 1963. Several other organizations appeared later, Such as the Democratic Union of the Peoples of Cabinda, and the People's Movement of Cabinda.
At the beginning, FLEC was supported by Abbe Youlou, first president of Congo-Brazzaville, whose dream was to integrate Cabinda in the Congolese state. When he was overthrown by Massemba-Debat, who supported the MPLA, FLEC left Congo -Brazzaville. A long period of silence was to follow, till 1974. At that time, FLEC came to life once again, this time in Kinshasa. The MPLA had some internal contradictions to solve: on the right, the dissidence of Daniel Chipenda, a member of the steering committee, who claimed to be the leader of the largest angolan ethnic group, the Umbundu; on the left, the intellectuals and militants who accused Neto and the steering committee of dictatorship and an unwillingness to accept a people's democracy.
A meeting of the Cabindan movements was organized in Pointe-Noire (Congo- Brazzaville) during the summer of 1974. The new FLEC no longer spoke of an "enclave" but a "state" (Estado). Luis Franque, the business man from Kinshasa became "honorable" president; Alexandre Tchioufou, an assistant director-general of ELF-Congo, was the president. Tchioufou was based in Brazzaville. Tiago N'Zita as vice president, remained in Cabinda. The race between Congo and Zaire for Cabinda was further complicated as Holden Roberto of FNLA, supported by Mobutu, did not enjoy a love affair with Franque. As for the MPLA, it declared that Cabinda was angolan territory. In Brazzaville, Neto criticized Tchioufou, whom he looked upon with suspicion because of the links he had with a french oil company in 1975, the MPLA, FNLA, and UNITA met at Mombassa, Kenya, and agreed on a common position on the Cabinda issue: The enclave was and would remain angolan territory. The situation became rather grotesque: Congo-Brazzaville supported the MPLA but if favored the self-determination of Cabinda and allowed FLEC to operate in its territory. Pointe-Noire was used as a port for the landing of cuban arms and munitions for the MPLA that might be used against FLEC. But tit the Congo also supported Tchioufou, who was an ally of Chipenda, the rightist dissident of the MPLA. So, the Congo effectively supported the MPLA's enemies Zaire and the Americans both supported Franque, and at the same time Holden Roberto, while Gabon and France supported N'Zita. In the meantime the MPLA had complete control of Cabinda, as the Portuguese withdraw their support port for FLEC.
The anti-Communist sentiments of FLEC was outweighed by the personal ambition of their leaders to transform Cabinda into a neutral "African Switzerland" or an "African Kuwait." This program was, however, not considered sufficiently viable by multinationals or Western capitalist states for them to destabilize the MPLA's regime. Cabindan political groups opposing the MPLA were thus viewed as an instrument that could be useful in a certain political context compromising the independence of angola.
A book was published in 1977 asserted the right of Cabinda to in independence and accused the portuguese of deliberately offering Cabinda to the MPLA in violation of the Simulambuco Treaty of 1885. Economically, as long as foreign capital can negotiate with the MPLA, multinationals have little further interest in the future of Cabindan people.
THE ECONOMIC QUESTION
Oil is the main resource of Cabinda. In 1973, 89.7 percent of the total production of oil of angola came from the enclave (Dilolwa, 1978 :265). Cabinda also represents the most important wood production for the angolans, as the forest of Mayombe covers two-thirds of its territory. Other products of less importance are coffee, cocoa, manganese, and potassium. Most of its 100,000 inhabitants are in primary sector activities, mainly agriculture. The soil is fertile, and production can be self-sufficient. About 25,000 residents live in the capital, Cabinda.
The search for oil in angola and Cabindastarted as early as the beginning of this century (Da Costa, 1908), but it was only in 1957 that the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company was founded, after a concession was obtained by a subsidiary of the American Gulf Oil Corporation. The a agreement with the portuguese government gave the right to the company to prospect and exploit onshore and offshore Cabinda oil for fifty years, renewable for another twenty years after negotiations. Cabinda Gulf did not have to comply with certain requirements usually asked by the portuguese authorities, such as having the main business office in portuguese territory, having a majority of portuguese nationals on the board of directors, or transferring 20 percent of the capital stock to the colony of angola. The company was free to decide the level of production as well as the storage and sale of whatever it found in its concession zone. However the company did not have the right to build a refinery. In 1970, the colonial government of angola owned 12,000 shares of tile company's stock, at U.S. $25 each, received royalties of 12.5 percent on the total value of the company sales, and had a prior right to purchase a maximum of 37.5 percent of the annual production of crude oil. As a guarantee, Cabinda Gulf had to deposit 25 million escudos with the Bank of portugal. Regarding taxes, the company had to pay up to 50 percent of the profits of the oil sales, but at the same time it was free from liability for custom duties or taxes oil capital, titles, and shares, so long as they remained the property of Gulf Oil Corporation or of one of its subsidiaries (Eurafrica, 1975: 53-61).
One of the big "seven sisters," Gulf Oil Corporation, is controlled by the Mellon Group (of the United States) through a package of controlling shares and the financial concentration of tile enterprises it controls: Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) is the first aluminum trust ill the world; Koppers Company is the main industrial gas producer in the United States. Through Westinghouse Electric, it controls three steel trusts in Pittsburgh. With Gulf & Western, it controls an important share of the world film market. As a multinational, Gulf has its own financial institutions that allow it both to gain ready access to financing and to help tile circulation of capital to conduct international and domestic operations. The Mellon National Bank & Trust of Pittsburgh, F. Mellon & Soils, Milban Corporation, the National Union Fire Insurance Company, the General Reinsurance Corporation, and the North Star Reinsurance Company are all company off shoots.
It is not my purpose to describe Gulf's economic empire. By mentioning some of the elements of its network, I wanted rather to illustrate the importance of this corporation. One should notice that oil is not all Gulf is interested in. However, either by direct control, as in the case of Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, or in association with other corporations or state capital-, -the presence of Gulf Oil is spread all over the world, both in the Third World and in industrial countries. In addition, Gulf was the only multinational company operating in Cabinda. But Petrofina (Belgium), C.F.P. (France), Total (France), Texaco (USA), Sacor (portugal). Mobil Oil (USA), and Shell (great britain and holland) had concessions arid were operating in angola.
Since 1968, the traditional image of Cabinda has completely changed. The wood houses have been replaced by concrete buildings; hotels and supermarkets have appeared like mushrooms. Artisan workshops have been able to compete with the new industries, and Cabinda has become no longer a small town, but a new urban center. Cabinda Gulf Oil Company was a sure source of revenue not only for the fascist regime in portugal, but also for the colonial government in angola.
In 1974, with seven platforms working off shore, the Cabinda Gulf produced 8 million tons and paid U.S. $550 million in royalties, representing 70 percent of angola's foreign trade income. angola was to become the fourth African producer of oil, after Nigeria, Libya, and Algeria (Brieux, 1980: 78-79).
( This text was sent to us by e-mail from : Jessica Goldman, San Diego, California, USA ).
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Cabinda has little to show for its Oil
CABINDA Town, Cabinda - More than 30 years after striking oil, Cabinda fabulously productive country has yet to join the rich man's club.
In this tiny corner of Africa, there are no fashionable shopping malls, no new motorways, no gleaming sports cars, no showpiece hotels, science parks or universities, and no Cabindan oil barons building petrodollar investment empires around the world.
While spared the civil war devastating many parts of the occupying army of angola, this small occupied nation remains a dusty centre of underdevelopment despite pumping almost 800,000 barrels - currently worth about $12.5 million - every day, half of which goes to the angolans that since their invasion of Cabinda in 1975 angola army has Robed, Raped and Murdered freely the Cabindan People.
" I see the local population just getting poorer," said angolan management consultant Emilio Moreso Grion.
Home to one of Africa's lesser known Independence struggles, Cabinda is plagued by political tensions with some areas paralysed by freedom fighters demanding a greater cut of oil revenues for the 250,000-strong population.
The situation poses a tricky diplomatic test for oil multinationals such as Chevron , the U.S. firm which runs the offshore fields and whose imprint is everywhere in Cabinda town, a sleepy settlement of 80,000 people.
So far there has been none of the mass community unrest that has shaken the larger Niger delta oil province in Nigeria, largely because Cabinda's oil fields are safely located offshore.
Yet while there are no reports in Cabinda of the starvation occurring elsewhere in the invading state of angola, tuberculosis, diarrhoea, malaria and other ailments aggravated by malnutrition are common.
WALKING A TIGHTROPE OF POLITICAL NEUTRALITY
Chevron and its partners Elf Aquitaine of France, AGIP of Italy and angola's state Sonangol must walk a tightrope of political neutrality in their dealings with the community.
Executives acknowledge that the some of the Cabindan aid workers and businessmen they deal with daily might also be separatist activists in their private lives, but they don't discuss politics with Cabindans.
"We don't get into labels," said Lifa. "We just see human beings who have needs. War or no war, life has to go on."
The Nation of Cabinda, located between the two Congos, produces more than 70% for angola's oil output and accounts for nearly all of its foreign exchange earnings.
Resistance Fighters argue that the unelected MPLA Regime takes Cabinda's oil wealth and gives little in return to the local population.
"The Cabinda tragedy is due to its oil reserves," says a publicity leaflet by the Resistance group FLEC (Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda). "Let's end this big treachery of history."
The government responds that it needs oil revenues to fund its near 25-year civil war against rebels in angola and in the invaded Nation of Cabinda.
And it also points to tough legislation requiring oil companies to build some of their industrial infrastructure locally and adopt the eventual goal of almost 100 percent angolanisation of their workforce's.
CABINDA'S SPECIAL STATUS
The Cabindans base their independence claim on the fact that Cabinda was never part of angola and on the Treaty of Simulambuco of 1885 with the portuguese as a portuguese protectorate state. The treaty was part of portugal's attempt to consolidate its empire during the European powers' scramble for Africa in the late 19th century.
Separatists have been fighting for independence on and off since 1975 when portuguese rule ended but have not seriously threatened central government control.
Separatists says it is not opposed to the foreign oil companies but wants Cabinda to control 30 percent of the province's production, a vastly bigger slice of the petroleum pie than it currently enjoys. Some Cabindans will see with good eyes the possibility of Nationalization of this companies that operate in Cabinda in direct complicity with the occupying force of angolans.
Cabindans complain oil companies should buy more from local agriculture, timber and fisheries firms instead of importing services duty-free and writing off many other in-country costs as exploration or development expenses.
Chevron ironically says that would like to buy more locally but says it cannot obtain the quality and volume it wants from firms handicapped by a run-down infrastructure.
"Compare what oil companies import to what they buy in the local economy. It's a very tiny amount," said Grion. "Almost the only thing oil companies get locally is labour, most of which is unskilled.
"Chevron doesn't gives a toss for Cabinda or its People" in the words of one of it's ex-employees.
( This text was sent to us by e-mail from : Andrew Smith, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA ).
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The MPLA Regime has since 1975 Robed, Raped and Murdered the Cabindan People
In Cabinda, the Bakongo speak Kikongo and the Mayombe speak a closely related dialect of Kikongo. The Mayombe occupy the mountain forests of Eastern Cabinda and are a small minority in Cabinda, while the Bakongo are the majority ethnic group. The Cabinda State is predominantly Catholic Apostolic.
The Federal Republic of Cabinda is 10.000 Sq. Km. It is bordered to the South by Zaire and to the North by Congo and to the West by the Atlantic Ocean. Cabinda is rich in Oil, yet the wealth is not returned to the people. The People of Cabinda feel they have been ruthlessly exploited by both the foreign Oil Companies and the invading force of angolans. Almost all of the oil produced in Cabinda goes to the U.S. and is pumped by a subsidiary of the U.S. based Chevron.
During the 1960's in the struggle for independence from portugal a movement for the independence of Cabinda was created. The movement started in 1961 with the formation of three groups. They merged to form FLEC (Front for the Liberation of Cabinda) in 1963 and have been resisting for more than 30 years. FLEC received moral support from several African governments, including Zaire, Congo, Central African Republic, Gabon and Uganda, in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1990s, FLEC is generally believed to get 100% active help from the Cabinda population who live intimidated by the angolans. There is Cabindan solidarity and a distrust of the angolans. The feeling of separateness from the rest of angola is deep rooted among the peoples of Cabinda.
1885: The portuguese make a Treaty with the Cabindan authorities to elude them in signing a Treaty that would put them in the Status of an International portuguese Protectorate.
1954: Oil explorations began in the portuguese protectorate State of Cabinda.
1956: The portuguese administration for bureaucratic and incompetence reasons joins the administration of Cabindan with the colonial administration of luanda.
1961: Alliance of Mayombe established along with two other separatist groups in the enclave of Cabinda. In 1963, they joined together to form FLEC (Front for the Liberation of the State of Cabinda). This was a struggle for independence from portugal that by now it was very clear and obvious that the portuguese where not treating the State of Cabinda as a international Protectorate but as a colony.
1964: MPLA began illegal excursions into the enclave of Cabinda and was met with great resistance from the Mayombe peasants whose territory they needed to cross from bases near the Congo frontier, and from FLEC .
10 January 1967: FLEC, created a government in exile based in the border town of Tshela, Zaire. In the early years of the autonomy movement, Zaire allowed FLEC to use its territory and generally gave them its support.
1968: Oil production began in the Cabinda province. U.S. owned Gulf Oil (later Chevron) owns 49% of the shares in offshore Cabinda blocks. Chevron later withdrew 20% of its Cabgoc interests under pressure from the Reagan administration. Reagan disliked the presence of cuban troops supporting the angolans in Cabinda and therefore pressured Chevron to end its dealings with the Marxist Leninists angolans.
1975: The angolan troops of the MPLA invaded the Sovereign Territory of Cabinda with the help of the Congo that placed the airport of Point Noire at they total disposition for the traffic of weapons and all military equipment needed to subdue and begin their reign of terror, theft, rape and murder. The angolans invaded Cabinda for its Oil and the money that they can get from there to kill not only the Noble Cabindan People but also their own people in the south of their only country.
February 1975: The Marxist Leninist angolan MPLA after invading and stock large arsenal of weapons in Cabinda declares "it is ready to negotiate with FLEC in Cabinda".
FLEC demands the withdraw of angolan forces from Cabinda, the recognition of the Cabinda People's right to self-determination. FLEC also protested to the U.N. the alleged killing of over 100 students and villagers by MPLA terror troops.
May 1975: FLEC denounced the agreement of Alvor ending the angolan liberation movement which gave control of Cabinda to the Marxist Leninist angolan MPLA. We have to understand that at the time of the signing of the Alvor agreement in portugal the ruling administration was Communist this explains why only Marxist Leninist groups took power in angola . FLEC called on the U.N. and O.A.U. to reason and to negotiate a solution to Cabinda's Right for Real Independence.
July 1975: Zairean president Mobutu called for a referendum on the future of the Cabinda State. Congolese president Henri Lopes concurred stating "Cabinda exists as a reality and is Historically and Geographically different from angola." Gabon, Uganda, and Central African Republic had all expressed support for or recognition of FLEC, though some of the OAU members opposed the Cabindan separatists on the grounds that it would encourage separatists elsewhere.
1 August 1975: FLEC president Luis Ranque Franque declared Cabinda Independent.
May 1976: The angolan MPLA Communist Party continued to rely heavily on Cuban Communist troops in Cabinda.
FLEC increased its attacks against Communist Cuban troops best friends of the angolan MPLA, ( What kind of nation brings Cubans to kill its own people ? ). FLEC charged the terror troops of the invading MPLA with wiping out an entire village in Buco Zau region using 122mm rockets. FLEC informed that some 75,000 Cabindans fled to Zaire.
1979-1984: The communist MPLA was always supported by the communist Soviet Union and Cuba, and continued to attack the People of Cabinda with its terror troops. More than 5000 Cuban communist troops were stationed in Cabinda in the 1970s and 1980s to kill rape and robe the People of Cabinda .
May 1981: Six Cabindan men were sentenced to death on charges of belonging to FLEC.
April 1989: An estimated 900,000 Cabindans were refugees in neighbouring states.
September 29-30, 1992: The angolans in angola went to the polls. In Cabinda separatist feelings were still prominent in the invaded State of Cabinda. However, in Cabinda, only 0,5% of Cabinda's Residents voted after being urged to boycott the elections by FLEC. This was interpreted as a referendum for Independence on the part of the Cabindans. Oil production in Cabinda provides a vast majority of angola's foreign earnings, yet Cabinda receives less than 1% of the oil revenue and remains underdeveloped and the people remain poor. The Communist MPLA angolan party rejected Cabinda's bid for Independence.
January 1993: In angola continues in full scale civil war. Aid workers said 10,000-15,000 people have been killed in the past four months. UNITA launched an offensive in oil rich northern State of Cabinda. The brave People of the State of Cabinda continue to be involved in a separate struggle against the MPLA Communist party for the Independence of the State of Cabinda. FLEC is once again active (now FLEC-FAC, Armed Forces of Cabinda). MPLA is thought to have more than 25,000 Foreign Mercenaries and angolan occupying troops in Cabinda.
January 22, 1993: The angolan MPLA and the Military, national police and civilians massacred civilians, mostly Bakongo in several cities. Reports suggested this was a deliberate attempt to destroy the Bakongo - Ethnic Cleansing - in Angola. The number of dead was thought to be in the thousands (most reports suggest between 10.000-15.000 dead). Some Ovimbundu were also killed. This massacre, was known as "Bloody Friday".
March 1993: FLEC were thought to be in control of much of Cabinda'sjungle interior, but the angolan Communist MPLA still occupies CabindaCity, where one-half of Cabinda's population lives, and the oil wealth is robed from the People of Cabinda.
March 1994: Talks between the MPLA and FLEC-FAC were scheduled for the first time in the history of the struggle for the Independence of Cabinda. Communist MPLA troops remained invading Cabinda, though fighting continued. FLEC-FAC had little outside support and few funds, but has the tacit support of all of the inhabitants of Cabinda.
August 1994: UNITA accused the MPLA of operating a Scorched Earth policy in Cabinda. UNITA reported the Communist MPLA Killed more than 880 villagers in Katabuanga which resulted in hundreds of other Cabindans fleeing to Congo and Zaire.
In Cabinda, insurgency continues. The State of Cabinda remains underdeveloped and the People remain poor despite the oil wealth there. However, more important to the people of the State of Cabinda seems to be their feeling of separateness from angola. They do not feel an affinity with the angolans and would like recognition as an Independent State. It is unlikely the Communist MPLA of angola will give up Cabinda because of the wealth of that region. Oil from Cabinda provides up to 95% of angola's foreign earnings.
The Cabindan People are at risk because of their right for Independence. The People of Cabinda are economically disadvantaged as little oil wealth is returned to Cabinda. The people continue to face an armed struggle for Independence with little outside aid. The communist MPLA has been accused of killing large numbers of civilians Cabindans in their fight against FLEC forces.
( This text was sent to us by e-mail from : Heather Suarez, Dallas, Texas, USA )
WARNING! : "The views expressed in this publications and reports are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the CDF, C-SS or the Cabinda Federal Government."
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A LARGE force of Americans Mercenaries, all former serving officers with the United States Army, Air Force and Marines, has been hired to guard oil installations in the tiny, oil-rich state of Cabinda under angolan occupation.
American Veterans turned Soldiers of fortune (Mercenaries) involved in the Cabinda venture work for an American company, AirScan, which has its headquarters in Titusville, Florida. Most of the oil assets belong to Chevron, whose wells pump about $3,5-billion worth of Oil from a succession of offshore Oil concessions.
Move over Marlboro Man: Eeben Barlow and his former outfit, Executive Outcomes, lost their lucrative contract with the corrupt angolan government last year Chevron owns 39,2% of the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company (Chevron). The corrupt angolan government (through Solangol) has 41%, while ELF owns a small percentage, as do some other European companies. It has been that way since 1955, when the first oil was shipped from Cabinda to the United States.
AirScan, has been linked to government intelligence agencies, uses Cessna 337s to provide aerial surveillance on the periphery of the oil fields. These fixed-winged aircraft carry under-wing, turret-mounted, electro-optical sensors and are augmented by lightweight, surveillance radar when necessary.
This sensor package permits stand-off surveillance in the air from distances of more than 3km. The main objective is to prevent FLEC, ( Front for the Liberation of Cabinda ) from approaching the oil fields.
Other military contracts handled on behalf of the corrupt angolan government have been awarded to Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), of Alexandria, Virginia, including one to train two Forcas Armadas angolanas airborne brigades. MPRI is believed to have been asked to found a training academy for non-commissioned officers in Cabinda, though the company is not prepared to comment on any of this.
MPRI It employs former members of the US armed forces, preferably those with special forces experience.
In an interview with MPRI last year, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ed Soyster refused to be drawn on whether his company was interested in supplying personnel to go to angola in a protection role. He did admit to having visited luanda several times for that purpose at about the same time as Executive Outcomes's contract was up for grabs.
A project was to have been launched by MPRI in Cabinda . Finally, after some speculation that "Mercenaries" had been hired to guard American oil interests in Africa - and that in a country brutally wracked by civil war - the deal, for reasons known only to the two American firms, was passed on to AirScan.
The rationale concerning the Cabinda venture among some authorities in Washington is that it does not matter if angola again lapses into civil war. The priority is to keep the oil flowing. Even if the rest of the country burns, that objective is not difficult to achieve, the apologists say. Most of the oil fields are offshore, anyway. They are isolated and difficult to hit.
The Cabinda operation is under the command of AirScan Brigadier General (Ret) Joe Stringham who, for some years during the civil war period, ran clandestine American military operations in El Salvador.
Like MPRI, AirScan's origins are vague. There are reports within the shadowy world of contemporary "Soldiers of fortune", that those associated with the company have been involved in running guns from Uganda to the Sudanese People's Liberation Army in southern Sudan. The rewards for such work are good.
The lowest pay for "grunts" in Cabinda is $225 a day. Those involved in gun-running ventures receive a bit more. In northern Uganda, it is argued, the risks are greater.
Tours of duty are in weeks rather than months: six on and six off, either back in the US or a destination of choice, as long as the air fare is commensurate. Many of the contractors head for Sun City. No money is earned by lower-ranking AirScan personnel while on furlough.
By all accounts, AirScan's relations with the corrupt MPLA Regime are "testy".
Stringham had been made promises by the angolans about accommodation and recreation facilities such as a swimming pool for his men, but little has been forthcoming. There is a pool at the unit base: it is filled with garbage. Just about every item required by the force is flown in, including drinking water.
Conditions within Cabinda are regarded as insecure by those who have recently been there. No AirScan member of staff can go into town without a heavily armed escort. There is no fraternising with the locals or members of the expatriate portuguese community. Until 1975, Cabinda was a portuguese Protectorate.
Issues in Cabinda serious by the fact that a section of its population has been striving for independence since the early Sixties, first from lisbon, now from luanda.
The FLEC have been at the vanguard of the struggle. They have been resolute in their objective of trying to drive out the Luanda government, but are critically short of arms and equipment. They have no medical resources. In that heat, close to the equator, anyone with a gut wound is dead within hours.
Recently FLEC attacked six Angolan army T/54 tanks with nothing more than RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades and commercial explosives captured from the scrupulous oil companies and fired in flare pistols. The attackers melted into the jungle afterwards.
The movement has consistently appealed to the West for help. Nothing has been forthcoming. As far as Washington is concerned, any form of military assistance to FLEC might result in the disruption of oil supplies. That is simply not on in the heady world of multi-billion-dollar oil cartels.
Until now, Cabinda's freedom fighters have received only grudging, on-off support from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo which, in any event, covets the oil-rich state of Cabinda for itself. When former president Mobutu Sese Seko was still around, he gave FLEC some military assistance, but this was done more to anger luanda than from any altruistic motive.
Were Cabinda to achieve Independence, its oil reserves would make it the wealthiest country in Africa. It sits on a remarkable succession of subterranean oil fields that traverses the length of the West African coastline from Cameroon southwards and that has created such riches in Gabon to the immediate north.
Obviously, luanda has no intention of letting go. Cabinda has become an endless source of revenue. Its financial returns, alone, keep the regime alive and its leaders living in a style to which they have become accustomed. The angolan government has consequently reacted brutally towards any form of dissidence in the enclave. This has led to charges of human rights abuses by Amnesty International.
There is a real fear in Cabinda that Washington has a "hidden agenda". The locals believe the US will eventually claim Cabinda for itself because of its oil wealth. "And who can stop them if they do?" asked a young student in Malongo, an oil Town about 30 minutes north of the Capital.
Local politicians and those in luanda encourage the population to mistrust foreigners largely because, they say, history had proved that Europe and the US had brought nothing but trouble in the past.
( This text was sent to us by e-mail from : James Walter, New York, NY, USA ).
WARNING! : The views expressed in this publications and reports are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the CDF, C-SS or the Cabinda Federal Government.
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MPLA Regime desperately needs Cabinda's oil revenues
The oil rich State of Cabinda is of more importance today than at any time since it was first disputed in the early 1960s , angola has annexed Cabinda but the freedom fighters of the Front for the Liberation of Cabinda FLEC-FAC want Independence. The struggle continues as Cabinda's economic and strategic importance grows ever stronger.
The War between FLEC-FAC and the invading angolans has continued since the early 1960s. At the centre of the dispute is Cabinda's oil wealth. The Cabinda concessions account for almost all of angola's oil producing revenues estimated to be more than $3.5bn a year, angolan economic recovery after decades of civil war with UNITA depends on the oil from the occupied Cabinda's offshore fields.
But the 700,000 plus local inhabitants of the Nation have not benefited from the oil wealth. The freedom fighters from the Front for the Liberation of Cabinda FLEC-FAC has capitalised on local resentment. It aims to free Cabinda from angolan occupation and use the oil wealth to benefit its people directly.
The Country of Cabinda is not contiguous to the country of angola. Between Cabinda and angola there is the mighty Congo River and a 40 kilometre strip of the Democratic Republic of the Congo formerly Zaire. It is bordered by the Republic of Congo Brazzaville in the north. So Cabinda's neighbours are the two Congos, and not angola.
This geopolitical position has made it still more strategically important in recent times, with the angolan troops backing Laurent Kabila in the Congo and later sending its tanks across the Congo-Brazzaville border in support of Denis Sassou-Nguesso.
Cabinda has always been important to the occupying power.
The portuguese didn't want to lose Cabinda in the 1960s and neither do the angolans today. With its economy in a shambles, one of the world's worst inflation rates and an infrastructure destroyed by nearly three decades of war, angola desperately needs Cabinda's oil revenues.
Cabinda produces nearly 500,000 barrels of oil a day out of an angolan total of 500,000 barrels, worth some $2.75bn a year. Production in Cabinda alone is expected to reach 600,000 barrels a day by 2002. More than 60% of the oil revenue goes directly into the angolan defence budget.
The government has issued tenders for weapons on short term loans mortgaged against its potential oil production. It is estimated that the next seven years oil production is already mortgaged in this way.
During the angolan elections of 1992 FLEC-FAC called a boycott. Its support was evident when only 16,000 Cabindans signed up to vote. Most of these were police, military, MPLA politicians and government employees.
After the elections a dramatic uprising occurred in Cabinda. Hundreds of FAPLA troops (angolan soldiers), many just teenagers clad in ragged uniforms and carrying Kalashnikovs, rampaged through the centre of Cabinda city, 20 civilians and spraying the seaside residence of Governor Augusto da Silva Thomas with automatic weapons' fire. He escaped by climbing out of a window, running down the hillside to the harbour and fleeing to Soyo by boat.
During the next two days there was effectively no government as FAPLA roamed the streets drunk on palm wine, threatening their officers and demanding discharge papers. The situation reached a state near anarchy. With the near collapse of FAPLA in Cabinda, FLEC-FAC began freely roaming the coastal road from Cabinda north to Point Noire (Loango).
Ambushes were common. Most were rather benign affairs: a small group of FLEC-FAC would stop a truck or bus, force the passengers out and then burn the vehicle. Prime targets were the decrepit, slow-moving buses carrying workers from Cabinda to the Malongo oil complex.
The roadway was littered with the burnt hulks of ambushed vehicles pushed into the ditches. Other attacks were more violent. FLEC - FAC ambushed a vehicle carrying Miguel Fernando Nzambi, a senior Cabindan police officer, murdered him and dumped his body in the Chiloango River.
Unable to control the situation and with his ego still stinging from his less than courageous flight from his seaside residence, Governor Tomas ordered FAPLA troops in Cabinda to shell known FLEC-FAC positions and suspected strongholds with heavy artillery.
Although FLEC-FAC may be a rag-tag band of guerrillas akin to bandits, there is some "professional" leadership. Captain Bonga-Bonga, a forty-something former FAPLA officer with 20 years service defected to FLEC-FAC. Bonga-Bonga is well known in Cabinda. He once walked into the Cabindacity jail and freed 69 prisoners including seven FLEC - FAC guerrillas all without firing a shot.
Bonga-Bonga wasn't the only interesting nom de guerre, one guerrilla, the chief of operations, called himself Ped a Vida: Beg for your life.
In January 1994, FLEC-FAC mortared the oil production terminal at Malongo causing the hurried evacuation of Chevron oil workers. The installation suffered minimal damage as FLEC dropped only a few rounds before the phantom mortar men melted away into the jungle.
FLEC ushered in the New Year in style in January 1996 kidnapping four foreigners employed by a mining company, releasing the three South Africans after a week of captivity. Kidnapping is a favourite FLEC activity.
In a case of mistaken identity, FLEC snatched an American aircraft mechanic and held him for eight months. His meals were box-lunches from Chevron's employee cafeteria at Malongo. They were carried out the front gate everyday by FLEC sympathisers employed on the compound.
In February 1997 FLEC kidnapped two foreign engineers, a Malay and a Filipino, working for Inwangsa-SDN, a forestry company. Emmanuel N'Zita, FLEC-FAC's "secretary for external relations" issued a statement from Brazzaville accusing the captives of spying for the angolan government and threatening to punish them under "revolutionary law."
In June 1996, FLEC-R violated their agreement with the government and began actively recruiting young men for their armed units. A week later the political and military situation changed as FLEC-FAC launched renewed attacks against FAA units in Cabinda by hitting army garrisons.
A few weeks later FLEC ambushed a patrol near Buco Zau killing four angolan soldiers. Its Brazzaville office trumpeted the action while claiming that since 15 May 1996 the FAA had deployed 8,000 troops in Cabinda. More conservative estimates place angolan troop levels in Cabinda at around 5,000.
The situation remained tense with separatist forces building up their armed guerrilla units and conducting harassing attacks on FAA troops and angolan police.
On 11 April 1997 the angolan government and FLEC-Renovada announced a cease-fire agreement and their intent to work on a peace plan. Talks were held between the two antagonists in Windhoek, Namibia under the auspices of President Sam Nujoma of Namibia. It came to nothing.
In the spring of 1997 there was also a large influx of foreigners (mostly Chinese, Filipinos, and Malaysians) from the Congo to the Wandakousoubi area about 20 kilometres Northwest of Buco Zau. These Asian "immigrants" are gold prospectors and miners. The gold bearing Buco Zau area is strongly separatist in sympathies and has long been a stronghold of another guerrilla movement, the Frente Democratica Cabinda (FDC), but FLEC controls the gold deposits, causing some conflict between the factions. The government has reacted with counterinsurgency operations.
In late February 1997 the Angolan army shelled the area from Subantando to the Zaire border 15 kilometres to the east, in an attempt to dislodge FLEC freedom fighters from their jungle sanctuaries. Other counter-guerrilla operations were mounted in the north near the Congolese border.
At the same time (spring and summer of 1997) FLEC began reinforcing its military units with about 400 guerrillas of unknown origin. They were then reorganised into 20-man groups which FLEC optimistically called battalions. Their mission was to step up attacks against government forces. On 18 March 1997 FLEC attacked an FAA patrol killing five soldiers and wounding others.
FLEC-R's reputation is more bloodthirsty with a well-known penchant for hacking off the noses and ears of suspected government "agents." , angolan combat operations against FLEC freedom fighters continued throughout the summer of 1997. A commando unit, Commandos de angolanas carried out counterinsurgency operations, but engaged FLEC in little if any actual combat. The Commandos have a fearful reputation in the angolan Army. Their units were responsible for the elimination of (illegal diamond miners) from the Sociedade Mineira de Lucapa diamond mines in Lucapa in the spring of 1995. It was brutal, sometimes bloody, and always effective. Only this time the enemy had AK-47s instead of picks and shovels and were hardened guerrilla fighters, not poor farmers hoping to find luck in the diamond fields.
Now they were in Cabinda to roust out FLEC. At one of their bivouac sites, I spoke with several of these "commandos." The first thing I noticed besides dozens of empty bottles of Zairean Primus beer littering the ground were two "commandos" sprawled face down in the dirt next to a pile of Kalashnikovs. A few feet away was a pile of RPGs, loaded and armed. The weapons weren't stacked or laid out - they were just thrown into a pile. Load bearing equipment was scattered haphazardly about the area. New rucksacks were strewn about. They looked as if they had never been used.
Each soldier wore relatively new FAA woodland pattern combat fatigues tailored in the French style with zips on the breast pockets, black berets, new USMC issue Kabar fighting knives, and even though it was 1900 hours and the sun was setting, cheap, plastic Easy Rider style sunglasses.
A few nights later, two different FAA infantry units would squabble and reach for their rifles. One soldier was wounded in the ensuing fire fight as expatriates living nearby scrambled for cover.
I wandered amongst the troops. Several carried a Kabar, a machete, and a Kalashnikov bayonet on their belts and a bottle of beer in their hands. Most of the commandos had a glassy-eyed blank-faced expression while they wandered around aimlessly or lolled on the ground listening to their portable cassette players with earphones. Most were just plain drunk. And belligerent. They pointedly demanded whisky and cigarettes. When I passed around some Marlboros, every recipient tried to grab the whole pack from my hand. Thugs in uniform.
Needless to say, I wasn't terribly impressed at this point. I could well imagine the terrifying effect they would have on a village of innocent women and children in Cabinda's interior. No foreign press and no UN observers. I heard stories from some expatriate friends living at the airfield about a FLEC sympathiser being tortured and interrogated by FAA troops.
It wasn't very nice. There is no Geneva Convention in this dirty little bush war.
I spoke with one of the Commando officers, a clean, nattily dressed major. He appeared to be a professional, yet appeared unconcerned by the behaviour of his troops.
Despite the presence of the commandos, Cabindan separatists continue to stage isolated attacks on oil company vehicles, equipment, and personnel but inflict scant damage on Chevron's installations. Chevron, however, has briefed its employees that there is "a growing threat of potential disruption to oil operations".
Casualty figures of government troops and guerrillas are largely unreliable as skirmishes with FLEC are rarely reported by the government controlled media. The lack of coverage by the Western press might be explained by the recent US State Department travel warning: "Travel within angola remains unsafe due to the presence of undisciplined police and troops, and unexploded land mines in rural areas."
( This text was sent to us by e-mail from : Guy Ben, Westmister, England, UK ).
WARNING! : The views expressed in this publications and reports are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the CDF, C-SS or the Cabinda Federal Government.
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Cabinda : Separatists launch offensive
Mail&Guardian, 11. August 1997
Johannesburg - Heavy fighting was reported over the weekend between Angolan government troops and separatist forces in the oil-rich enclave of Cabinda.
Fighting is concentrated in Tandu-Zinze, Buko-Zawu and Belize, in the north of the province, the private pro-government Correio da Semana reported on Monday, adding that the separatists were using long-range weapons.
The Angolan defence ministry said recently that the separatists of the Cabinda Enclave Liberation Front (Flec-Renewed) has a fighting force of some 1 200 troops. Correio da Semana said Flec has mounted 15 attacks on army targets since May in the enclave, which is located on the Atlantic coast between Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and produces most of Angola's oil.
About a dozen separatist groups, three of them armed, are demanding Independence for Cabinda, which was made part of Angola in 1956 by its former portuguese colonial rulers. After independence in 1975, Angola made the region one of its 14 provinces.
Flec-Renewed signed a truce with the luanda regime in September 1996, but then broke it a few months later.
Petroleum accounts for more than half of angola's state revenues, with Cabinda's offshore oilfields forming the core of the industry, covering about two-thirds of total output.
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Africa Press/Thursday, June 6 1996
150 dead in Cabinda clashes
CLAHES in ocupied oil-rich Cabinda State between angolan forces and Cabinda guerrillas have caused the deaths of more than 150 people since May 10, according to an official of the Cabinda Liberation Front-Cabindan Armed Forces
The official claimed that angolan forces had launched a tank and helicopter attack on the town of Nekuto, near the Zairean border, badly damaging the town. He claimed most of the casualties were sustained by government forces and civilians.
Angolan radio last week claimed the government had re-established its control over the Nekuto
region, which had been in rebel hands, but the Flec-Fac official said guerrillas had surrounded
the government forces and cut them off.
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