Thanks to Cif for keeping Cabinda in the spotlight. I’ve revised my assumption that it was definitely Flec and have raised questions about what I call an ‘insider job’, by which I mean someone from within the army or the Angolan intelligence. These stories are always hard to judge, and I always find them hard to write about for an audience who know more or less nothing.How much do you say? How much can you explain? My point in the Cif piece is not that the attack was some kind of MPLA policy or a united plot from within the party of the army, but more likely some disgruntled individuals high up who seek to make a point to someone even higher up on their side. There is, inevitably, much discontent about the leader of the country who has been in power for 31 years and the men around him like Mr Kopelipa. I am not writing off (literally) the possibility that the attack was carried out by FLEC, a point I have made repeatedly in interviews with the corporation I love to hate, the BBC, and in a post I wrote earlier this week. It might well have been. But I think it’s important too, to consider the likelihood it less to do with FLEC, whichever faction may or may not be active in that area right now. Some have suggested opportunists: that seems unlikely to me. The Togo team were being escorted by a large number of armed men: it is hard to believe that a few untrained opportunists took a random swipe. That doesn’t add up. Either, FLEC got lucky; or it was someone/some group from the FAA/MPLA side; or the army decided to encourage or allow a FLEC attack to take place. And remember, all you doubters out there, that Angola has been having trouble with Congo-K of late; that the presidential elections still have not taken place in Angola and are a real cause of contention among the country’s elite; that certain men, like Kopé (mentioned above), are seen to be too powerful and too rich and some people want him out. All I am saying is never read a book (or a FLEC attack in this case) by the cover.
Whichever it is, the povo of Cabinda will suffer. By the sounds of it, they already are.
M, from the enclave, tells me, ‘Our liberty to move has already been curtailed. As it is, we were only allowed to walk to the stadium and back. Now many of us can’t even do that.’ M adds, ‘We knew that there might be an attack. We heard threats about this. But we did not expect it to be so violent or against one of the teams. This has taken everyone by surprise.’
Thanks to those of you who took time for late night discussions and to J for the Yorkshire link. A Cabinda site here for those who are interested.