The enclave of Cabinda (Angola) is, like so many other small territories rich in oil, beset with an independence movement. Cabinda is separated from Angola by a thin stretch of territory which gives the Democratic Republic of the Congo access to the Atlantic Ocean. However, the existence of vast reserves of oil make the prospect of independence attractive. After years of reduced activity, a renewed independence movement is again active in the enclave of Cabinda. This movement, which calls itself FLEC-RENOVADA (Renewed Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda) has started to target foreigners as it tries to gain international attention for its cause – namely, independence from Angola and a status similar to that of east Timor, a new country which Portugal fought very hard to protect from the Indonesian military, a campaign which resulted in the independence of the now Timor Lorosae. The Portuguese are the obvious targets in Cabinda because Portugal was the former colonial power but there are many other foreigners in the region, including Russians, all of whom are not immune from kidnap. Three Portuguese nationals have now been held in Cabinda, kidnapped, for ten months and recently another group of five Portuguese was captured by the rebels. The rebels are requesting the Portuguese State to administer the territory for three years, organise its independence from Angola and train its population for self-government. The official position of Portugal is to respect the international frontiers which situate Cabinda as part of Angola and to demand the immediate release of the Portuguese nationals kidnapped.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON
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