Is Angolan war really over?

By Anthony C. LoBaido

SOSSOSVLEI, Namibia – Despite the recent end of the decades-long civil war in Angola, a determined group of rebels in an oil-rich province continue to fight for autonomy from the ruling Marxist government, as revenues from the area’s vast deposits of “black gold” hang in the balance.

With the defeat of the anti-Marxist and anti-globalist UNITA rebel group, Angola has emerged as a vital new oil supplier to the United States (about 8 percent of America’s total usage) and Great Britain.

Angola’s ruling government, the MPLA, stands ready to lead Angola into the 21st century as a major diamond and oil exporter in Africa, yet it desperately needs the oil in Cabinda province.

Cabinda is separated from the body of Angola by a tiny strip of the Congo. Formerly pro-West Zaire, Congo fell to Marxism during the Clinton years and became a weapons supplier to various anti-West rogue states around the world, including North Korea. These days, Congo is viciously anti-UNITA and has been pressured by the U.S. to keep a close eye on its uranium mines, which are coveted from Baghdad to Tehran to Pyongyang. Zaire’s former ruler, Mobutu Sese Seko armed the Cabindans against the Marxist MPLA, and there are plenty of weapons still around to wage a guerrilla war.

Trapped by Congo and hounded by the MPLA, it would seem odd that after the defeat of UNITA that Cabinda province would fight on, seeking not only autonomy but de facto independence. This should come as no surprise, however, since Cabinda is the source of 60 percent of Angola’s total income from the overseas sale of crude oil. Much of Angola’s oil wealth lay offshore, making Cabinda the mainland’s honey pot of oil riches. Over 900,000 barrels of oil are pumped out of Angola’s oilfields every day. That figure will increase to 1.5 million barrels per day by the year 2006.

Aided by strongly anti-Communist Catholic missionaries, the people of Cabinda, who number around 100,000, are telling the transnational elites that they seek to control their own destiny. They keep Chevron and Texaco oil workers pinned down in their compound near the town of Malongo, afraid to travel the roads day or night. United Nations troops, which were hunted down, killed and run out of Angola by UNITA rebels in the 1990s, dare not intervene in Cabinda. UNITA also shot down aircraft carrying United Nations diplomats during the last decade.

The United Nations Mission to Angola, or Unma, these days is merely a $140 million food-donor program. U.N. peacekeepers left Angola in 1999 when it appeared UNITA was on its last legs. Angola is a major cross for the U.N. to bear. It is extremely expensive for the international body to aid starving children rather than simply feed hungry ones – about 10 times more expensive, according to experts interviewed by WorldNetDaily. Three million Angolans face starvation, and over 80 percent are malnourished. Survivors live on 1,300 calories per day, half of what the survivors of the Balkan holocaust received in Western food aid.

Other signs of instability abound. Former UNITA soldiers have been herded into demobilization camps where many are starving. Angolan television nightly broadcasts photos of missing children and teen-agers abducted during the war. Foreign aid, which rose to $400 million per year in the 1990s, has been cut in half. Over 70 percent of that figure comes from the U.S. and European Union. Still, the aid pouring into the MPLA’s coffers cannot begin to rebuild a nation that has more land mines than people. Farmers are afraid to plant crops because of the plethora of mines, exacerbating the current hunger problem. Amputees are legion – 85,000 died because of mines – and the late Princess Diana of Wales made a special pilgrimage to Angola seeking to address the land mine issue.

Fighting a ‘snake’

The Cabindans’ mantra goes something like this: “The MPLA government is the son of a colonist. The son of a snake remains a snake.” Fighting under the FLEC, or Liberation Front for the Cabinda Enclave, the Cabinda rebels, operating under the canopy of a thick jungle in the center of their region, have wreaked more than a bit of havoc with Western oil interests.

Jacob du Toit, a former South African soldier and mercenary based in Cabina with Executive Outcomes, told WorldNetDaily, “The FLEC have abducted Portuguese oil employees (Portugal is Angola’s former colonial ruler) and launched rocket-propelled grenades at a van ferrying workers from Chevron and Texaco. Such is the FLEC’s guerrilla campaign that Chevron and Texaco now use helicopters to fly their employees around Cabinda. The roads belong to the FLEC.”

Continued du Toit, “Guerrilla fighters in Cabinda break themselves up into Maoist-style cells and live off the land and through the generous food donations of local villagers. This greatly angers the MPLA forces, now known as the Angolan Armed Forces or FAA, who brutalize the local noncombatants seeking to destroy the rebels ideological and logistical allies.”

Since the defeat of UNITA, the FAA has been deploying scores of troops to Cabinda in a effort to subdue the FLEC rebels. The FLEC is so strong that the MPLA elites have recently, for the first time, publicly stated that they are willing to consider autonomy for the Cabinda province.

In a reminder of Pol Pot’s Cambodian killing fields, the MPLA/FAA forces have force marched and relocated over 4.5 million Angolans into areas of the nation it controls in an effort to make sure UNITA is forever vanquished and unable to reorganize itself in the nation’s thick jungles. This scorched-earth policy of the MPLA has thus far escaped all analysis by the Western press and United Nations.

British geologist Kevin McNally, a consultant with a major Western oil company operating in Angola, told WorldNetDaily, “A billion dollars in oil revenue is at stake from Cabinda alone. The total oil revenue for all of Angola per year is about $3 billion. The per capita income of Cabinda is $10,000, yet it is a very poor region with practically no infrastructure. Like many places in Africa, it could and should be relatively rich.”

Steve Molo, an Angolan refugee now based in Camps Bay, Cape Town, says that his family once supported the MPLA.

“The war went on so long, by the time it ended – and who can say for sure even if it has ended – we no longer understood what it is we were fighting for,” Molo told WND. “In the beginning, we were communists. Then the Berlin Wall came down. Now the war is about corporations, oil, diamonds, natural resources. My opinion on the Angolan war, the land mines, the amputees, is simply this – only Jesus Christ can save our nation.”

For now, Angola’s salvation may rest upon its armed forces, which have begun to incorporate UNITA fighters into its ranks. The FAA are disciplined and devoid of corruption by African standards. How they are able to rein in the excesses of the MPLA and its lackeys in the Angolan Parliament might be the singular key to a future of peace in this troubled nation.

Whether Cabinda will be a part of that nation, only time will tell. As Cabindan rebel fighter Fatima de Soto told WorldNetDaily, “We want our own country. Historically, we were never a part of the MPLA territory. We are not Portuguese. We are not communists, globalists nor Martians for that matter. This is our land. This is our oil. No foreign oil company, not the United Nations or apartheid attack dogs (mercenaries) has the right to take it away from us.”

Related stories:

The sellout of a nation

Executive Outcomes

End of the road for anti-communist rebel

Anti-communist Angolans fight for life

A tragedy in Angola

In Africa, diamond profits are forever

U.S. support for official Angola terror