Angola Erstwhile Opposition: FLEC and the FNLA
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
FLEC waged an intermittent independence struggle between its establishment in 1963 and its virtual demise by the mid-1980s. Zaire's withdrawal of support and internal dissension in the late 1970s caused FLEC to fragment into five factions, three of which remained marginally active militarily in the late 1980s. A combination of the factions' internal divisions and lack of external support, on the one hand, and the heavy concentration in Cabinda of Cuban troops and FAPLA forces, on the other hand, reduced FLEC to little more than a nuisance. In 1983 Luanda granted an unofficial amnesty to the guerrilla separatists, and more than 8,000 refugees returned home. In February 1985, a cease-fire agreement was signed and talks began, but no formal resolution was reached. In late 1988, FLEC existed in little more than name only.
Holden Roberto's FNLA was also defunct by 1988. After losing to the MPLA in the civil war, the FNLA retreated to its traditional refuge in Zaire and continued to wage a low-level insurgency. However, in 1978 Zaire withdrew its support of the FNLA as part of the Angolan-Zairian accord signed in the wake of the second invasion of Shaba Province. Ousted by his own commanders, Roberto was exiled to Paris in 1979. He emerged again in 1983 in an unsuccessful effort to generate international support and material aid for his 7,000 to 10,000 poorly armed troops, who operated (but did not control territory) in six northern Angolan provinces.
FNLA remnants formed the Military Council of Angolan Resistance (Conselho Militar de Resistência Angolana--Comira) in August 1980 to replace the moribund movement. Comira claimed to have 2,000 troops training in Zaire for an invasion of northern Angola, but it never offered more than sporadic challenges. Its lack of strength was the result of the loss of its major external patron, the broadening of the leadership of the MPLA-PT to include more Bakongo people (the primary source of FNLA support), and more aggressive FAPLA operations. Several Comira leaders defected to the Angolan side, and in 1984 more than 1,500 armed rebels and 20,000 civilian supporters accepted the amnesty originally offered in 1978 and surrendered to Angolan authorities. Hundreds were integrated into FAPLA and the security forces. Luanda reported in October 1988 that 11,000 former FNLA/Comira members had been "reintegrated into national reconstruction tasks," and in November the exiled Roberto was reported to have accepted amnesty.
Data as of February 1989
NOTE: The information regarding Angola on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Angola Erstwhile Opposition: FLEC and the FNLA information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Angola Erstwhile Opposition: FLEC and the FNLA should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.