The death of the founder and historical leader of Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda – Cabinda Armed Forces (Frente de Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda/Forças Armadas de Cabinda), Nzita Tiago, raises questions regarding the future of the secessionist group.
Shortly after his death, Alexandre Tati, Supreme Commander of Cabinda Armed Forces, said Nzita Tiago had placed on him the responsibility of “reorganizing and reconcile the armed resistance”.
That is, however, highly unlikely, since Alexandre Tati himself had broken relations with Nzita Tiago some time ago, forming his own faction (even starting negotiations with the Angolan government, which ultimately failed in early 2011).
Moreover, also in 2011, Nzita Tiago’s faction accused Alexandre Tati of being involved in an ambush by Angolan Armed Forces that lead to the arrest and death of Gabriel Nhemba “Pirilampo”, head of Cabinda Armed Forces (FAC), and Maurício Lubota “Sabata”, FELC commander of the military region of Miconje. In addition, Nzita Tiago had been losing influence in Cabinda to Tati, according to some reports.
Despite Alexandre Tati’s announcement, no other individual has yet claimed the group’s leadership. Rodrigues Mingas and Nzita Tiago’s eldest son, Emmanuel Nzita, are among the favourites and may challenge Alexandre Tati, giving way to a fierce dispute.
All in all, this announcement raises fears that the struggle over the group’s leadership may lead to further disintegration. This is all the more relevant when considering that the Angolan government has for long based its reluctance to negotiate with the group on the argument that there is no “valid interlocutor”.