Thursday, June 03, 2010

Oil unrest in the Cambinda region of Angola

The Cambinda portion of Angola is an oil rich region, and similar to neighboring country Nigeria it causes a lot of unrest. People are tired of not seeing any benefits from all of the oil-production, so some have even resorted to violence. However, there is little reason for the oil companies to be concerned about the unrest, because most of the oil drilling is offshore, beyond the reach of any militants.

From Reuters India, writer Henrique Almeida profiles the Cambinda region of Angola.

For the half a million residents of the impoverished territory, the oil has brought few benefits. The region caught international attention in early January when FLEC rebels ambushed the bus of Togo's visiting soccer team, killing two.

"Cabindans are tired of not seeing the oil money," said Martinho Nombo, a former vice-governor of Cabinda who is now a lawyer and university professor. "Ever since FLEC carried out the attack in January tensions have been rising."

FLEC, or Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, has been locked in three decades of mostly low-level insurgency against the government.

Heavily armed police have been seen patrolling the streets of Cabinda months after the rebel attack.

"We don't want to speak about FLEC. That is being treated within the realm of international terrorism," Mawete Joao Baptista, the governor of Cabinda, told Reuters.

"Our attention at the moment is focused on the economy and improving the lives of Cabindans."

His urgency has a reason: both FLEC rebels and ordinary Cabindans claim to see little of the money that comes from their land.

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