Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Disgruntled Enclave Threatens Angola's Bid for Peaceful Reforms Cabinda Accounts for Two-Thirds of Angola's Daily Oil Production, but Receives Less Than 1 Percent of the Revenues. DEMOCRATIZATION IN AFRICA

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Disgruntled Enclave Threatens Angola's Bid for Peaceful Reforms Cabinda Accounts for Two-Thirds of Angola's Daily Oil Production, but Receives Less Than 1 Percent of the Revenues. DEMOCRATIZATION IN AFRICA

Article excerpt

THE contested status of the oil-rich equatorial enclave of Cabinda, one of Angola's 18 provinces, could spark a new conflict after the historic Sept. 29-30 democratic elections.

Demands for independence by Cabindan separatist movements appear to enjoy wide support among Cabindan supporters of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and its rival, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).

"There is an intensification of military activities in Cabinda," said Angolan Foreign Minister Pedero de Castro van Dunem (Loy) during a visit to South Africa Sept. 24. Mr. van Dunem said the Angolan government did not accept that there were historical grounds to support the notion of an independent Cabindan state.

He said Cabinda was trying to capitalize on the trend toward the creation of micro-states in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and other parts of the world.

As Angola moves toward national reconciliation after 17 years of civil war, and voters participate in the country's first free multiparty ballot, Angolan and foreign officials hope to avert the threat of Cabindan resistance.

"The government has decided to create a platform for negotiations for the parties to find a solution within the framework of a unitary state," the foreign minister said. Oil production

Cabinda is a tiny coastal enclave that lies between Congo to the north and Zaire to the south, eclipsing most of the latter's access to the Atlantic ocean.

The enclave accounts for nearly two-thirds of Angola's daily oil production of 550,000 barrels, and consequently is responsible for nearly 90 percent ($2 billion) of the country's foreign earnings. Proven oil reserves in Cabinda total 2.1 billion barrels and another 3 billion barrels are estimated to lie in unexplored deep water.

Despite all this, Cabinda receives less than 1 percent of Angola's oil revenues and remains underdeveloped except for the high-tech coastal complex of the United States-based Cabinda Gulf Oil Company and the forest of towers and platforms that make up the offshore drilling operation.

The oil company has its own security and access is strictly controlled. A fleet of helicopters continuously shuttles personnel between the shore base and the platforms, and daily flights carry staff between Luanda and Cabinda.

But the people of Cabinda complain that the oil revenues from the enclave's rich Malongo and Takula oil fields go directly to Luanda and that virtually no benefits return to Cabinda. A will to break away

In the voter registration for the Sept. 29-30 ballot, the residents of Cabinda managed only a 19 percent registration rate compared with nearly 90 percent in the rest of the country.

"The low turnout by Cabindans in the voter-registration campaign amounted to a referendum on independence," says a US diplomat who monitors affairs in the enclave. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.