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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Angola signs deal with Cabindans
Angola
The Angolan government has signed a peace deal with separatists who have been fighting for independence for the northern enclave of Cabinda.

But not all leaders within the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave (Flec) support the agreement.

Flec's military capacity has been all but destroyed by the Angolan army.

Oil wells off the coast of Cabinda generate more than half of Angola's income - a fact that has encouraged support for separatists.

The agreement between the government and the Cabinda Forum for Dialogue involves a "special status" for the enclave, within the limits of Angola's centralised constitution.

It also provides for demilitarisation of the rebels, and an amnesty for crimes committed during the 30-year conflict.

Antonio Bento Bembe, a leader of the former Flec-Renovada faction, signed the deal in the southern Angolan coastal town of Namibe, on behalf of the Cabinda Forum for Dialogue (FCD).

He said his organisation would "never accept any behaviour susceptible of taking the people of Cabinda back into unrest and the absence of peace," the Angolan News Agency (Angop) reports.

Angola's Territorial Administration Minister, Virgilio de Fontes Pereira, said "peace has come to stay," Angop reports.

The Cabinda Dialogue Forum was formed two years ago with the intention of uniting the former Flec factions and Cabindan civil society leaders.

Disagreement

But Nzita Tiago, leader of the former Flec-Fac faction, said Mr Bembe had no credibility.

"We want to negotiate peace for Cabinda, but not this way," Mr Nzita told the AP news agency by phone from Paris.

The disagreement comes despite the two Flec factions having announced they would put aside their differences.

Cabinda was formerly a Portuguese protectorate that was incorporated into Angola when the Portuguese withdrew from both territories in 1975.

Flec, which began fighting for independence from Portugal during the 1960s, continued to wage war against the Angolan government, supported for more than 20 years by the government of the then Zaire.

A campaign by the Angolan Armed Forces during 2002 and 2003 destroyed most of Flec's military capacity, while some soldiers and officers accepted a demobilisation package from the government.

Since then, Flec's armed wing has comprised only small roving bands of guerrillas operating in the dense rainforest of Cabinda's interior.




SEE ALSO
Angolan army 'abuses Cabindans'
02 Feb 05 |  Africa
Poverty and war in Cabinda
27 Oct 02 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Cabinda: Angola's forgotten war
18 Oct 02 |  Africa
Country profile: Angola
06 Nov 04 |  Country profiles

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