Angola Yellow Fever Funds Pay For Refuse Collection

Why was a sum of nearly US $200,000, allocated to fight the yellow fever epidemic in the Angolan oil-rich province of Cabinda, used instead to pay off a debt to a private refuse collection service? That’s the question being asked by confused Health Ministry officials in the capital, Luanda, after they were left dumbfounded by news from Cabinda that the special funds allocated to yellow fever were instead diverted by the newly-appointed city administrator to pay arrears. According to a source in the Provincial Government of Cabinda, this was one of the first steps taken by Arnaldo Tomás Puaty, who was only appointed to the position of municipal administrator on May 6 after previously working as an adviser to Cabinda’s Provincial Governor, Aldina da Lomba Catembo.  It’s only two months since the provincial governor announced a new household and business tax would be levied to help pay for refuse collection. […]

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Machete Torture: More Human Rights Abuses in Diamond-Rich Region

“I am Angolan!”, the informal diamond digger keeps screaming in pain and in vain, while the guard repeatedly beats him on the palm of his hands with a machete. His citizen’s rights are ignored. As the guard becomes more violent, the victim screams for his mother repeatedly, but his humanity is ignored as well. “Shit! Pardon does not exist”, the guard who is commanding the beatings of up to ten miners, laughs louder. He is known as Bonifácio. Video evidence has emerged of vicious and sadistic beatings recently meted out to informal miners known as ‘garimpeiros’ by private security guards. The assaults took place just weeks ago in the diamond-rich area of north-eastern Angola. The video, which contains harrowing scenes, was filmed on April 21, 2016 in the Dambi area of Cafunfo in the northeastern province of Lunda-Norte.  In unsparing detail, it shows the guards using machetes to intimidate, beat […]

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Just Call Him “General Toyota”

Maka Angola has learned that some 300 motor vehicles imported into Angola in 2008 for the use of officers serving in the Military Intelligence and Security Service, have instead been retained in a parking lot at the Morro Bento quarters in Luanda. Sources within Military Intelligence told Maka Angola that the vehicles, which include Toyota Land Cruiser, Hilux and Yaris models, were imported at a total cost of US $7  million to the public purse.  But they have yet to be distributed to their intended recipients, in spite of repeated complaints to the office of the President of the Republic. The sources allege that the head of the Military Intelligence and Security Service, General Zé Maria, has kept the vehicles as a private fleet: “Several of the vehicles have been diverted quite openly to the General’s family and friends.  It’s a blatant abuse of power, and it is jeopardizing vital […]

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General Zé Maria Warns: The Devil Has Infiltrated Angola

The mental health of the head of the Military Intelligence and Security Services (SISM), General José António Maria, also known as “Zé Maria”, was called into question this week at a gathering of nearly one hundred of his subordinates, among them several generals. During a four-hour meeting held on Tuesday in commemoration of the Catholic holiday of the Pentecost, he repeatedly spoke about the presence of the Devil in Angola. On two large screens placed in the Officers’ Mess hall, General Zé Maria showed numerous images of Angolan investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais, with the heading “The Devil Paid By the CIA”. In his homily about the “devil”, the general argued that the journalist was Angola’s greatest enemy and must be treated as such. To demonstrate the “real” power of the enemy, he drew on various examples, accusing some of his senior officers, for instance, of erecting tall buildings […]

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Angola Travel Warning

Foreign nationals in the Angolan capital, Luanda, are being advised to take extra precautions after a recent spate of kidnappings.  The crime wave has prompted the United States to issue a security warning, highlighting what its Embassy in Luanda calls “developing crime trends”. In the past two months alone, Chinese, French, and Belgian nationals have been kidnapped by gunmen who demanded a ransom.  The victims were released unharmed within a few days once the ransom was paid.  The Angolan authorities suspect these crimes were all carried out by the same group and they have speculated that the recent murders of two Portuguese citizens may be linked to the kidnappings. According to the US Embassy in Luanda, the incidents revealed so far include the March 30 interception of a Lebanese-Belgian citizen driving near his home in the city centre, forcibly abducted by armed men but later released on payment of an […]

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Caluquembe Police Fire on Students

From Angola comes yet another report of out-of-control police officers shooting at demonstrators. Three students were wounded, one of them seriously, when police officers opened fire without warning as the youngsters were taking part in a protest march last week in the central Angolan town of Caluquembe, in the province of Huíla. The students were protesting over demands for extra money in connection with their studies, after a local authority meeting decreed that emoluments would be added to tuition fees.  They were also protesting at the summary dismissal of teachers who did not go along with the move. Two of the injured were named as 17-year-old Paulo Alfredo Cabral, a student of economics and law at the Novo Horizonte college and 21-year-old Cecília Camia Francisco, who is a student at the Teacher Training college. Both received gunshot wounds to their legs. “In all, three young people were shot.  Two were […]

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United States Raises Concerns About the 17 Jailed Activists

Angolan human rights defenders, Rafael Marques de Morais, has given an interview to the Portuguese news agency Lusa about his latest meetings with Obama Administration officials to brief them on the situation in Angola. One of the main concerns underlined in his conversations with US officials was the state of health of two jailed political dissidents, Nito Alves and Nuno Dala, both of whom are gravely ill. Nuno Dala has been on hunger strike for 26 days. “The United States has expressed grave concern over the treatment of these two men who are being held in inhumane conditions in prison and have not received adequate medical attention,” said the rights defender. Briefing Angolan human rights defender Rafael Marques de Morais was in Washington DC this week to brief Obama Administration officials on the fate of the 17 political dissidents recently given long jail terms after a show trial in the […]

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Fears of the Fatherless

Angola’s Chief of Military Intelligence and Security Services, General António José Maria, better known as General “Zé Maria”, recently told a meeting with subordinates that President José Eduardo dos Santos had made “a grave mistake” in announcing that he would retire from politics in 2018. Maka Angola has learned from reliable sources, that the meeting was ostensibly called for operational purposes.  However, General Zé Maria was “visibly angry” over the presidential decision which apparently had “taken him by surprise”. He kept speculating aloud that the announcement may have been precipitated by the volatile socio-economic situation in Angola, for which the government has failed to come up with adequate solutions. According to General Zé Maria, “the announcement would only serve to sow confusion amongst the party faithful”, given that the President as yet has no effective exit strategy to prevent political upheaval or worse. Not that the General was offering any […]

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No-Shows Force Adjournments at the Show Trial of the Luanda Book Club 

Late last year, after a torrid few weeks under the gaze of the world’s media, the trial of dissidents charged with rebellion against Angola’s MPLA government was abruptly adjourned in time for Christmas.  This was seen as less a gesture of seasonal goodwill, more an attempt to shake off some increasingly uncomfortable scrutiny by the outside world. The initial 15 defendants, known as the “Luanda Book Club”, are a group of youthful dissidents and activists who were arrested for having gathered to read and discuss Gene Sharp’s ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation”.  The book is described as a blueprint for nonviolent resistance to repressive regimes.  For the heinous act of reading about resistance, they were charged with conspiracy to overthrow the state.  Two other human rights activists were later added to the charge sheet, though not held in detention. After months in preventative custody, Rapper Luaty Beirão and his […]

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Sindika Dokolo: Chronicle of a Crime Foretold

The never-ending story of Angola’s long-serving President José Eduardo dos Santos (36 years in power and counting) and his billionaire family has resulted in yet another lawsuit being presented to the Office of Attorney General of the Republic for action.  This time, the alleged offender is the president’s Congolese son-in-law, Sindika Dokolo, the multi-millionaire businessman hitherto eclipsed by his billionaire wife, Isabel dos Santos. In short, a provincial governor already accused of illegitimately helping himself to land, then allowed the President’s son-in-law to acquire enough land to found a small city for a peppercorn price of less than US$10,000. Investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais, filed today the complaint against the Governor of the province of Kwanza Sul, General Eusébio de Brito Teixeira. The complaint also names as the governor’s partners in crime, the famed art collector Sindika Dokolo and his company, Soklinker (Soklinker Parceiros Comerciais, Lda), as well as its manager Luís […]

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