Cabinda Conflict

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The Republic of Cabinda (Ibinda: Kilansi kia Kabinda) also called Republique du Kabinda is a former Portuguese protectorate, its government is led by members of the Cabinda civil society and members from the FLEC-FAC who claims sovereignty over the Angolan Cabinda Province as an independent country. The government currently operates in exile with offices located in Paris and Pointe Noire, Congo. Cabinda was a Portuguese protectorate known as the Portuguese Congo and was administratively separate from the Portuguese West Africa (Angola). During the Portuguese Colonial War period, the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) fought for the independence of Cabinda from the Portuguese. The independence was proclaimed on 1 August 1975. FLEC formed a provisional government led by Henriques Tiago. Luiz Branque Franque was elected president. In January 1975, Angola’s three liberation movements (MPLA, FNLA and UNITA) met with the colonial power in Alvor, Portugal, to establish the modalities of the transition to independence, FLEC was not invited. The Alvor Agreement was signed, establishing Angolan independence and confirming Cabinda as part of Angola. After the Angolan independence came in effect in November 1975, Cabinda was invaded by forces of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) with support of troops from Cuba. The MPLA overthrew the provisional FLEC government and incorporated Cabinda into Angola. For much of the 1970s and ’80s, FLEC operated a low intensity, guerrilla war, attacking the Communist MPLA Regime troops and economic targets and kidnapping foreign employees working in the province’s oil and construction businesses. In July 2006, after ceasefire negotiations, António Bento Bembe – as a president of Cabindan Forum for Dialogue and Peace, vice-president and executive secretary of FLEC – announced that the Cabindan separatist forces were ready to declare a ceasefire. The peace treaty was signed. FLEC-FAC from Paris contends Bembe has no authority or mandate to negotiate with the Angolans and that the only acceptable solution is total independence. The agreement signed by Antonio Bento Bembe was not recognized by FLEC nor by the Cabinda civil society.