Angolan Muslims Denounce Human Rights Violations

Aisha Lopes, the fashion designer, and her husband Angelica Bernardo da Costa (also known as Mujahid Kenyata) are Angolan nationals who converted to Islam in 1996.   Aisha, a diabetic, was nursing her 26-day-old infant delivered via high-risk Caesarean surgery when security forces raided the family’s apartment at 5 am on December 2 nd , 2016.  More than 20 armed officers from the Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) and the security branch burst in and detained her and her baby, along with her 39-year-old husband. Aisha says they ransacked the apartment, seizing computers, phones, more than 200 books, the couple’s bank cards and all the personal documents belonging to the couple.   “They even took my medical reports. They did not leave a single sheet of paper. “ “We are poor and the agents mocked us, saying that the head of the terrorists in Angola had almost nothing of worth in […]

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Police Use Lethal Force to Repress Diamond-Area Protest

Reports from the diamond-rich province of Lunda Norte in north-eastern Angola say police opened fire without warning on peaceful demonstrations by separatists on Sunday, killing one bystander and wounding others. Protest marches in the region had been organized by a banned political organization, the ‘Movimento do Protectorado Lunda-Tchokwé’ (MPL-T, Movement for the Lunda-Tchokwé Protectorate), which advocates independence for the Tchokwé peoples who live in the former ancient kingdom of the Lundas. The separatists have argued for a measure of autonomy, similar to that accorded to Scotland within the United Kingdom. Insiders say the MPL-T wrote to Angola’s President José Eduardo dos Santos earlier this month to ask for dialogue and for permission to hold a public demonstration. It appears that no march permit was sought from the local authorities. Up to a thousand supporters are said to have turned out in the town of Luzamba at 7am with the aim […]

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Nobody Wants to Kiss the General

Reports of bizarre behavior by the Angolan President’s loyal henchman, General José António Maria, aged 74, have become so frequent that people are openly questioning whether the elderly security head honcho is succumbing to senility. Already past the official retirement age, the man better known as General “Zé Maria” remains the head of the Military Intelligence and Security Service (Serviço de Inteligência e Segurança Militar, SISM) despite the concerns for his mental health. Once again his unprofessional behavior towards female employees is causing a stir in Luanda. The General is a notorious womanizer, who propositions almost every woman he encounters. When it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, he appears to ignore both Angolan laws and the passage of time. Have none of his senior colleagues thought to whisper in his ear that this is the 21st Century and ‘droit de seigneur’ is past its sell-by date? The latest […]

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Diamond Barons Sued for Destruction of Farmland

A ‘war’ between diamond mining interests and locals in northeastern Angola that has resulted in the destruction of 402 privately-owned fields of assorted crops in the last year alone, has forced the area’s traditional chiefs, or Sobas, to file suit against the mining conglomerate and six named individuals. The lawsuit, filed today, seeks redress for actions attributed to the Angolan diamond mining conglomerate, Sociedade Mineira do Cuango Lda. (SMC) and five of its managerial team: Artur Jorge Gonçales (President of the Board), Victor Nunes (Logistics and Security Manager), Filipe Luis (Administrative and Financial Manager), Mike Weir (Operations Director) and Firmino Valeriano (Deputy Operations Director). The complaint alleges criminal behaviour, including extortion and theft, and the violation of individuals’ property rights under Article 37 of the Constitution, and demands action by the Attorney General’s office to institute criminal proceedings against those responsible. SMC is accused of ordering the systematic destruction of […]

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Angola’s Rampant Extra-Judicial Killings

More witnesses have come forward to corroborate reports of a wave of extra-judicial killings by elements of the Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) working with the National Police in the suburbs of the Angolan capital, Luanda. Testimony and evidence from multiple sources points to an astonishing level of violence at the hands of either police or SIC agents, including more than 100 extra-judicial shootings in the past five months. Highly-placed sources in the Angolan government suggest that this is the direct result of pressure from the Interior minister for the SIC to crack down on crime in the Viana suburb. Criminal investigators Recently Maka Angola reported the killing of José Loureiro Padrão, known as ‘Zeca’, a 40-year-old motorcycle mechanic who was beaten to death while in SIC custody. A witness to that killing has now come forward to corroborate the family’s complaint and to give further details. “Zeca was wrapped in […]

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Angola: More Extra-Judicial Killings

Officers from Angola’s National Police and Criminal Investigation Service have been accused of executing two unarmed men, in cold blood, in the latest display of what witnesses say is the out-of-control behavior of armed police in and around the Angolan capital, Luanda. A ten-year-old girl was also injured by a gunshot wound received as the officers fired indiscriminately in the middle of a suburban residential neighborhood at 10.30 in the morning on September 6. Suzanete Gomes was playing with friends in her neighbor’s back yard when they saw someone trying to climb over the wall and heard shots. As they turned to run from the yard in fright, Suzanete saw she was bleeding. She had been shot – the bullet striking her in the back and exiting through her abdomen. The child told Maka Angola that a uniformed policeman approached her and asked her if she’d been hit. “I said yes […]

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Assault and Battery, Angolan Style

Angolan national police officers have again been accused of carrying out extra-judicial executions at a police station. On a single day, August 31, the bodies of three men taken to a hospital morgue in the capital, Luanda, all displayed the unmistakable signs of being badly beaten. Autopsies revealed all three had been severely beaten with blunt objects, causing cranial fractures and other internal injuries, which directly caused their death. Opposition Member of Parliament Mihaela Webba, from the UNITA party (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), told Maka Angola “the National Police are, in effect, carrying out the death penalty, with no respect for peoples’ lives.” One of the victims, 40-year-old José Padrão Loureiro, known as Zeca, was laid to rest on Sunday. His grieving widow, Margarida Maria Armando, says that at approximately 7.30pm on the evening of August 31st, two patrol cars pulled up outside her home. The […]

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Shoot the Messenger!

“Be careful! Be VERY careful!” That was the late-night advice to award-winning Angolan journalist and human rights defender Rafael Marques de Morais from Vice-Admiral Pedro Chicaia, the Cabindan brought to Luanda as the right-hand man and special adviser to the Angolan Navy Commander, Admiral Francisco José. It was an unusual time to call – a Sunday evening at 9.27pm – and an unusual response to enquiries into allegations of the illegal expropriation of land in the municipality of Viana. As Maka Angola revealed in a special report this week, the disputed land is a 15-hectare plot in Mucula Ngola, Viana province, registered in the name of Garcia João Camangumba who gave his sister, Helena João Teka power of attorney to manage his affairs when he became ill in 2012. Soon afterwards Helena’s home was demolished at night, killing her two young children, during what is alleged to have been one […]

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Abuse of Power in Angola (Part II): Beware the Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

In Part One, Maka Angola reported how Helena João Teka was driven off her family’s land by armed police, losing her home and her two children in an illegal forced eviction connected to the Angolan President’s right-hand man, Chief of Staff Edeltrudes da Costa, who owns a large country estate just across the road. Helena is the official guardian to her brother Garcia João Camangumba’s six children. With the onset of mental illness, he gave Helena power of attorney, which had the effect of transferring his title to the land, to his sister. After the first two demolitions, she and her wards had taken refuge at the home of a friendly neighbor who allowed them to live rent-free on land close to their parcel but they were warned this was only a temporary help and they couldn’t stay much longer. Desperation drove Helena to erect a makeshift dwelling on the […]

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Abuse of Power in Angola (Part I): How the MPLA Elite Clears Land for Their Own Use

Earlier this month graphic pictures emerged from Angola of the killing of 14-year-old Rufino António, shot in the head at close range by a soldier enforcing demolitions in the poor neighbourhood of Walale, south of the capital, Luanda. This is not an isolated incident. The Angolan authorities have commonly resorted to sudden mass demolitions of entire neighbourhoods to clear the land for redevelopment, with little or no regard for residents’ legal rights, or even their lives. Sometimes there are legal grounds for these actions, such as slum clearance within the ambit of the Luanda Development Plan – a scheme praised by international urban planners unfamiliar with the reality of how it is being executed. All too often, however, the mass demolitions are ordered by unscrupulous and greedy members of the ruling elite who see the chance to grab choice portions of land for their own ends. Bound by blood to […]

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