Liberation Movements in Cabinda

Angola Table of Contents

Several movements advocating a separate status for Cabinda were founded in the early 1960s, all of them basing their claims on their own interpretation of Cabindan history. The most important of these was the Movement for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Mouvement pour la Libération de l'Enclave de Cabinda--MLEC), led by Luis Ranque Franque, which had evolved out of various émigré associations in Brazzaville. In December 1961, a faction of the MLEC headed by Henriques Tiago Nzita seceded to form the Action Committee for the National Union of Cabindans (Comité d'Action d'Union Nationale des Cabindais--CAUNC). A third group, Alliance of Mayombe (Alliance de Mayombe--Alliama), led by António Eduardo Sozinho, represented the Mayombe (also spelled Maiombe), the ethnic minority of the enclave's interior. The three groups resolved their differences and united in 1963 as the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Frente para a Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda--FLEC). When the MPLA began its military incursions into Cabinda in 1964, it encountered hostility not only from coastal members of FLEC who were living in and near the town of Cabinda but also from Mayombe peasants, whose region near the Congo frontier MPLA guerrillas had to cross.

Emulating the FNLA, FLEC created a government in exile on January 10, 1967, in the border town of Tshela in Zaire. Reflecting earlier divisions, however, the faction headed by Nzita established the Revolutionary Cabindan Committee (Comité Révolutionnaire Cabindais) in the Congolese town of Pointe Noire.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress