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Cabinda, Angola

A province in the nation of Angola, Cabinda is situated in Central Africa between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo. The region has access to the Atlantic Ocean and covers an area of about 10,000 square km. Cabinda, a semi-autonomous region of Angola, was actually a Portuguese protectorate according to the 1885 Treaty of Simulambuco. After the independence fever of the 60s, various patriotic movements such as the Freedom Movement for the State of Cabinda (MLEC) arose with one purpose: the autonomy of the province. In 1974, the Portuguese government permitted the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) to settle down in Cabinda. Because the region holds a great deal of oil (which actually constitutes the major Angolan export revenue), the Angolan central government was not very thrilled with such action and invaded the enclave on November 11, 1975 with the help of the oil giant Chevron whose purpose was more economically motivated than politically motivated.

Cabinda has not been at peace since. The situation is comparable to the conflict in the Niger Delta Region (Nigeria), with frequent confrontations between government forces and separatist movement groups.

In the early 1990s, the successive Angolan administrations put in action various measures and approaches to appease the situation, such as getting rebel groups involved in the Angolan administration and investing a higher percentage of oil revenues in the development of the enclave. This initiative has proven successful to some extent but did not stop hostilities fully. In 2006, a ceasefire coupled with a general amnesty was signed by the main secessionist group FLEC and the government.

The Angolan government proclaimed the end of the war in 2009, although periodic attacks on its forces and foreign workers were ongoing. The latest hostility of the rebels to catch the attention of the world was the attack on January 8, 2010 on the Togolese soccer team bus a few moments after they crossed into the Cabinda province. The attack cost the team two lives and injured six others.