Blast rocks Angolan state oil company : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Blast rocks Angolan state oil company April 28 2000 at 05:49PM

Lisbon, Portugal - An explosion, initially feared to be a bomb, blew out windows and doors at the offices of the Angolan state oil company Sonangol in downtown Luanda early on Friday, news reports said.

The blast occurred at 2am (0000 GMT), the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported, citing police and Sonangol sources. No one was hurt, reports said.

Lusa initially reported that an explosive device caused the blast, but an unidentified company source later excluded that possibility, Lusa said.

The explosion occurred in a small kitchen where gas bottles were stored, Lusa said.

Police said they were investigating the blast and declined to speculate on the cause.

The Sonangol headquarters are close to the finance ministry building. The government fears terror attacks by the Unita rebel group, which has been fighting for power since the south-west African country's 1975 independence from Portugal.

However, Unita has mostly remained in the bush, where it wages a guerrilla war. The group, led by Jonas Savimbi, has never launched assaults on the coastal capital.

The Angolan government relies heavily on oil revenue to finance its civil war effort. Angola is sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producer after Nigeria, with an output of about 780 000 barrels a day.

Sonangol has oil exploration agreements with several foreign companies, including Chevron of the United States and France's Elf Aquitaine.

Unita - a Portuguese acronym for the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola - funds its war with black market diamond sales. - Sapa-AP

-- Martin Thompson (, April 28, 2000

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