Him, Cabinda de Simulambuco

Cabinda is today one of the 18 provinces and the only enclave in Angola. It draws a conflict that has lasted for more than 40 years and started with a separatist attempt still in colonial times.

Not long ago I was in Cabinda. And I entered by the sea, which is the Maiombe forest. Close and often impenetrable, rich in precious woods, land of gorillas, other wild animals and a huge variety of unique birds.

I passed by sanctuaries of pelicans and flamingos, I saw the beauty of the mouth of Chiloango, I visited the cemetery of the Kings of Cabinda, the ruins of the old Sé of the century. XVI, the Church of Our Lady Queen of the World and stopped at rest in the historic landmark of the Treaty of Simulambuco. There was the tree planted, they say in 1885, which marks the signing of the saying between the Princes of Cabinda and the Kings of Portugal.

Cabinda is today one of the 18 provinces and the only enclave in Angola. It borders the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has 7.283 km2 of territorial area and 800.000 inhabitants. More than half of Angolan oil comes from Cabinda, which is also rich in manganese, phosphates and wood.

Recent news reports show more and more frequent occurrences between the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and the Cabinda State Liberation Front (FLEC), with civilian, military and combatant dead.

This conflict has lasted for more than 40 years and started with a separatist attempt in colonial times. On August 1, 1975, a provisional government was even formed that proclaimed independence. In 2006 a memorandum for peace was signed, but the conflict returned in 2010 when the independenceists attacked a bus carrying football players from Togo. In a June 3 war statement, it announced that in that day's clashes with the FAA, four soldiers, six civilians and two of his own died.

I note as optimistic the statements of George Chikoti, former head of Angolan diplomacy, saying that he is sure that the Angolan government knows how to deal with the tensions in Cabinda. Because I think of the young man I met at the Treaty framework and what he answered when I asked him where he came from: Me, Cabinda de Simulambuco.

Since then I have read enough to understand the conversation of that late afternoon. And it is elementary to know that the Treaty of Simulambuco placed Cabinda under Portuguese protectorate, in which it was obliged to maintain the integrity of the territory, as well as to respect and enforce its uses and customs. As for the rest, the geography of history's curves and counter-curves remains for both of us. Past and future.

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