Hopes of progress to end the conflict over the oil-rich enclave of Cabinda faded in that latter half of 2006 as the government sidelined a civil society organization representing the minority population.

The Bakongo people of Central Africa make up around 14 per cent of Angola's population, and the preponderance of the 300,000 people of the northern Angolan province of Cabinda. Cabinda is separated from the rest of Angola by the sliver of the Democratic Republic of Congo that runs to the Atlantic. Though tiny in size and relative population, the area represents an estimated 60 per cent of Angola's vast oil reserves.

The natural resource has raised the stakes for Cabindan efforts to achieve self-determination that date back to 1961. With the end of Angola's civil war in 2002, fighting in Cabinda between separatists and the Angolan army intensified, resulting in widespread human rights abuses against Cabindans. From March 2006, an umbrella organization, the Cabinda Forum for Dialogue (FDC), entered into discussions with the government. In July 2006, the government banned one element of the FDC: Cabinda's only human rights organization, Mpalabanda. In August one Cabindan rebel leader signed a separate peace with the government that was disavowed by other Cabindan factions. The head of Mpalabanda was arrested in September 2006 and released one month later, pending trial for 'instigating, inciting and condoning crimes against the security of the state'. Chevron, the largest oil operator in Cabinda, conceals the amount they pay to the Angolan government. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) criticize the oil giant for contributing to graft that only fuels resentment among the impoverished Cabindan population.

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