Angolan Catholic Church Wants More Autonomy for Oil-Rich Cabinda
Angola’s Catholic Church said it wants increased autonomy for the province of Cabinda to counter growing calls for independence in the area that accounts for more than a quarter of oil output in Africa’s second-largest producer.
The church wants the province to be able to manage more of the money that it generates, spokesman Manuel Imbamba said in remarks from the Vatican that were broadcast today on Radio Ecclesia, a Catholic radio station based in Luanda, the Angolan capital.
“Dissatisfaction is growing in a form that no political party or politician should ignore,” he said.
Cabinda is separated from the rest of the country by the Congo River and a strip of land that belongs to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Chevron Corp. (CVX) pumps about 500,000 barrels a day from wells off the coast of Cabinda. ExxonMobil Corp., BP Plc (BP/) and Total SA (FP) account for most of the rest of the southwest African country’s production of 1.8 million barrels a day.
The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda has carried out a low-intensity guerrilla war against the government for the past several decades, a conflict that’s separate from the 27-year Angolan civil war that ended in 2002. About 38 percent of Angola’s population of 18 million are Catholic, according to estimates by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook. The percentage is higher in Cabinda, according to Federal Research Division of the U.S. Library of Congress.
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