Decade of peace leaves Angolans split over rewards

Wed Apr 4, 2012 2:11pm GMT

* Angola celebrates anniversary of end of long civil war

* President Dos Santos praised for stability, oil boom

* But critics say he has failed to reduce poverty, graft

By Shrikesh Laxmidas

LUANDA, April 4 (Reuters) - A decade after the end of a civil war that killed half a million people, wrecked cities and sowed its interior with mines, Angola's oil-fueled renaissance is visible in the cranes and skyscrapers that fill the skyline of the seaside capital Luanda.

Now vying to be "Africa's Dubai", Luanda and its building boom reflect the progress made since rebel group UNITA, decapitated by the death in battle of its leader Jonas Savimbi, signed an April 4, 2002 peace accord with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his victorious ruling MPLA party.

Chinese-built roads and railways now link the country's main cities and Angolans talk of finally being able to travel without crossing a war zone as they acknowledge the benefits of peace after a crippling, exhausting war that lasted 27 years.

But many citizens say however they feel left out of the post-war economic boom that has elevated Angola to Africa's No. 2 oil producer behind Nigeria. They accuse Dos Santos' government of leaving the poor behind while a ruling elite reaps the spoils of peace.

"The leaders have forgotten us, they are just building for themselves," said Samuel Quitangui, sitting outside his zinc-roofed house in central Luanda where he shares two small rooms with his eight children.   Continued...

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