Cabinda: armed conflict begins

Armed conflict between the Angolan Armed Forces and the FLEC independence factions has broken out, with heavy casualties reported by the local Catholic Church. The Angolan Armed Forces spokespam Vice Admiral Emilio de Carvalho, denied these allegations and stated that while it is true that fighting goes on, these are no more than sporadic clashes. Father Casimiro Congo, a Catholic priest who is in favour of independence, has attacked both the Angolan government and the US oil company., Chevron, for the dramatic situation in which the population of Cabinda lives. He claims that while the oil from Cabinda condstitutes 90% of the Angolan economy, the population lives in a state of misery while Luanda uses the money. He claims that only the council of Buco Zau, which supports the Angolan government, receives support from Luanda. The rest of the enclave, he claims, is ignored. This has given rise, according to Catholic Church spokespersons, to a generalised feeling of discontentment within Cabinda, whose people feel sure that when the oil has been used, the multinationals will abandon the territory and Luanda will disown it, without investment and devoid of infrastructures. Casimiro Congo stated also that Chevron, the US Oil Company which has vast investments in the area, does not contribute one cent towards the benefit of the local population, and that its personnel contact only people from Luanda, not Cabinda. He gives as an example the incident two years ago when vast new oil reserves were found and when production reached 480,000 barrels per day, Chevron executives went to celebrate in Luanda and that Cabinda was ignored. The Portuguese News Agency, Lusa, confirms the tense situation in the territory as Angolan Army and Srecurity Forces patrol the streets if the Capital City, Cabinda, and set up road blocks on the main roads leading to it. Another case of oil creating more investment interest than people, who are ignored.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU