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FLEC Claims Responsibility For 12 deaths In Angolan Oil Field Clash

The Front for Liberation for the Enclave of Cabinda, or FLEC, claims that it is responsible for the deaths of 12 soldiers in the Angolan oil fields this past weekend.

The group says that it was behind Sunday’s ambush of troops operating near the border with Congo Brazzaville in the northern region of the country. FLEC has increased its attacks in its conflict with the Angolan government since June, when its leader Nzita Tiago died, and says that it has been involved with three engagements with government forces. The government has not made any comments about the attack on Sunday.

Since August when hostilities increased, the group has been responsible for 50 deaths. For forty years, FLEC has mounted a low-level rebellion against the government in a stretch of land between the Congo and Congo-Brazzaville, and is best known for its attack on a bus carrying Togo’s national soccer team, which occurred during the African Nations Cup in 2010.

Angola is the second-largest oil producer on the African continent; however, FLEC has never been a serious threat to output, since oil in Angola is drilled offshore. OPEC notes that Angola oil was responsible for Angola’s growth (prior to the drop in oil prices), and contributes roughly 45 percent of the country’s gross national product. Oil makes up 95 percent of the country’s exports.

In related news, the president of the country, Eduardo Jose dos Santos fired the country’s finance minister, Armando Manuel, on Monday – although no explanation was given at the time. Manuel took the post in 2015, just before the decline in oil prices, and managed Angola’s economy which has staggered under the decrease in exports. The Angolan media reports that his replacement, Archer Mangueira, is tied to the country’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. Those discussions of late, have been stalled.

Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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