Cabindan separatists under new management

After a recent mass defection from its senior ranks, the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) has announced that the separatist movement in exile is now under new management, and called on the population of the Angolan enclave to continue fighting for their sovereignty.

"We urge [Cabindans] to remain firm in their fight against the occupying government of Angola, which practices state terrorism against the people of Cabinda ... and continues to deploy elite troops and warlike material," FLEC president Henrique N'Zita Tiago and other exiled leaders in France said in a statement on 26 August.

An offer of peace by senior FLEC officials on 29 June 2010, which seemingly ended the lengthy separatist conflict in northern Angola, was made without the knowledge or consent of Tiago, who described this olive branch as a "coup d'état" in an earlier interview with IRIN.

The statement "confirms the removal of Vice-President Alexander Tati, Chief of State Mayor Estanislau Boma, Chief of National Security Carlos Moises, and special Councillor to the President, Luis Veras Luemba."

These positions would be filled by Pastor Kitembo Antonio da Silva as Vice-President, Joel Betila as Secretary General, Barros Mangga, who would "organize the movement", and Afonso Massanga as Secretary for External Relations."

On 22 August the Angolan Defence minister, Candido Pereira Van-Dunem, told the Angolan state news agency, Angop, that "activities" between the Angolan Armed Forces and the "social community" in Cabinda were "healthy".

Cabinda provides around 60 percent of the oil production that makes Angola the largest producer in Africa, but is separated from the main territory of Angola by a narrow wedge of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cabinda's mineral wealth includes gold, diamonds and uranium, as well as extensive reserves of tropical hardwoods.