Sergeant Shoots Boy Dead in Football Celebration
An Angolan Armed Forces sergeant shot and fatally wounded a 12-year-old boy on Saturday, in Lunda Norte province, Angola, while celebrating a goal scored by 1º de Agosto, the military football club.
Justino Pedro, a representative of the family, told Maka Angola that Sergeant Armando Manuel of the Military Police was arrested this morning during a combined police and army operation.
After the shooting, the Sergeant had sought refuge in a colleague’s house.
The boy, Adão Abílio da Piedade Xavier, died in the hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning, of a bullet wound to the abdomen.
The incident occurred in the small town of Cafunfo in Cuango district, where a local businessman had installed a giant screen next to his shop in the town centre to allow more people to watch the match between 1º de Agosto and a rival club, Kabuscorp.
“My son left our house in Bala-Bala neighbourhood and also went to watch the match in town,” said his father, Xavier João Ngueve.
“When Kabuscorp scored their first goal, the civilians celebrated, including my son,” Mr Ngueve told Maka Angola.
The father added that when 1º de Agosto scored, an excited military officer took his pistol and shot at the boy, hitting him in the abdomen.
“My boy did nothing, said nothing, there was no discussion, just the Sergeant’s excitement,” Mr Ngueve said.
Adão Xavier underwent an operation later on Saturday, but died early on Sunday.
Maka Angola has learnt that the 75th Light Infantry Brigade sent a strong military contingent to the scene of the incident “to keep the situation under control” and to disperse the large number of people who gathered in a spontaneous and angry protest.
The Sergeant is a member of the Military Police attached to the 75th Brigade and he is a former member of the Special Forces.
According to local activist Enoque Jeremias, Sergeant Armando Manuel was “part of a group of delinquent soldiers who frequently commit offences in Cafunfo, with complete impunity. Nothing happens to them.”
Cuango municipality, especially Cafunfo, is known as a place where soldiers and private security guards regularly use violence against defenceless civilians.
In a show of sympathy, the commander of the 75th Brigade, Brigadier Samuecuenha, instructed his staff to provide the casket for the child’s burial, which took place this afternoon.
According to Justino Pedro, who represented the grieving father in the meeting with the military, the brigadier also ordered that the bereaved family be compensated with “5000 kwanzas (US$50) to rent a vehicle for the burial; 2000 kwanzas for fuel; 50 kg of rice, 25 kg of beans, two crates of beer, 10 kg of sugar, a crate of cooking oil, 24 tins of peas, 24 tins of preserved pork and 26 packets of coffee”.
He said the family members “wanted to give these goods back to the army, but we advised them to take them so as to show how our authorities regard the people”.
“It’s tragic. Here we have a Republic of Angola, where the rulers live, and the Republic of Cuango where we, the humiliated people, live. Our rulers know no shame. Their aim is simply to humiliate us, and to destroy our dignity, especially the Lunda Tchokwe,” the father said, his voice hoarse with emotion.
Maka Angola tried to phone Brigadier Samucuenha, without success.