Refugees: A Sore Point for Dos Santos and Kabila

More than 30,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are housed in two temporary reception camps, Kakanda and Mussunga, in Lunda-Norte province. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that about 500 refugees are arriving in these camps each day. Congolese citizens are continuing to cross the border to escape the current conflict in the Kasai region, which erupted in April last year. Last April, in addition to the refugees, around 180 armed men from the Congolese armed forces and police also escaped from the clashes between government forces and the Kamwina Nsapu militia, according to the data this website received from the local authorities. The same sources say that more than 100 members of the Congolese forces managed to escape the control of the defence and security forces, and ‘disappeared’ in the Angolan town of Dundo, while the rest were repatriated. In the same month, […]

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Africa: Stereotypes and Western Media Brownie Points

On Saturday, Angolans were expecting an official announcement from the ruling MPLA party (which has held power for 41 years) that President José Eduardo dos Santos would not be running in the 2017 elections. Word had already been leaked to the international media who duly reported this development to the world at large – and yet inside Angola there was still no official confirmation. Not a word from the ruling party, the President or the state-controlled media. The Angola story was paired with that of the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, who formally conceded defeat in the presidential elections after 22 years in power. It was heralded as a strand of an emerging trend: one ailing African dictator, Dos Santos, peacefully deciding to leave office (after holding power for 37 year) while another, Jammeh, graciously accepted he has lost a democratic election. Subsequent events suggest the mainstream international media were far […]

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40 Years On… The Boys are Back

Shrugging off the legal challenges to her appointment as President of the Board of Director of Sonangol, the President’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos, has lost no time in showing how she means to restructure the state oil company.  Her first task has been to recruit 120 Portuguese staff to senior positions. The new recruits will join a further 50 consultants – also mostly Portuguese nationals – currently working as consultants and advisers to Isabel on behalf of the Boston Consulting Group and the Portuguese law firm Vieira de Almeida, who in effect are jointly running the Angolan state firm at this point. The arrival of the Portuguese contingent to take over at the Angolan state oil company raises some interesting points:  firstly, the total absence of any national or international recruitment campaign and the lack of any attempt at dialogue between the managers and workers at Sonangol points to the same lack […]

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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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General Awards Himself More Than 300 Square Kilometers of Land

The governor of the southern province of Kwanza-Sul, General Eusébio de Brito Teixeira, 61 years old, has recently authorized on his own and for himself land for agricultural use and the construction of condominiums. Through a glaring scheme of self-dealing, the governor and his family have already grabbed over 30,000 hectares (over 300 square kilometers) of land in Kwanza-Sul. A high-ranking figure in military strategy, within the inner circle of presidential power, parallel to the FAA – Angolan Armed Forces, General Eusébio de Brito Teixeira also occupies the post of representative of the Intelligence Bureau of the President of the Republic for Southern Angola. “We will adhere to the MPLA’s program for government, which is to increase growth and improve distribution [of wealth]”, quoted the governor on his inauguration by president José Eduardo dos Santos, on September 29, 2012. Adhering to the MPLA’s program, throughout the year of 2013, the […]

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The President and the General Kangamba

For the first time in history, an Angolan general has been targeted with an international arrest warrant. General Bento dos Santos “Kangamba”, a member of the presidential family and a leading figure of the ruling MPLA party, is wanted in Brazil on suspicion of leading a gang involved in the trafficking of women for prostitution, conspiracy and forced confinement. Kangamba’s case is unprecedented, and the level of protection that he enjoys from the President beggars belief. Kangamba himself joked that he does not have magical powers. He made this joke to explain how he manages to deal with millions of dollars at a time, despite having no visible successful businesses. The secret of his success is the presidential favour that he enjoys. The warrant for Kangamba’s arrest has been met with deafening silence on the part of the Angolan presidency and the attorney general. The case damages the image of […]

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Angola’s Scrapyard Arms Deals

Angola recently became the biggest African customer for arms purchases from Russia, with contracts valued at one billion dollars. Nevertheless, while weapons are being stock-piled, the Angolan Armed Forces experience a lack of basic resources at the majority of army bases.   According to the Russian newspaper Vedomosti http://www.vedomosti.ru/politics/news/17540901/oruzhie-dlya-starogo-druga, the contracts include the supply of 18 Sukhoi-30 fighter planes, as well as Mi-17 transport helicopters, light arms, munitions, tanks, pieces of artillery and the construction of an arms factory in Angola. “The Su-30 fighters will be form the backbone of the Angolan Air Force’s fighting power,” the newspaper said. But the aircraft mentioned in the contract were manufactured in the 1990’s, and delivered to the Indian Air Force while it was awaiting the manufacture of the more advanced Su-30MKI. The planes were returned to Russia in 2007, and since then they have been stored at a maintenance facility in Belarus. […]

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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 […]

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The Military Spymaster’s Niche of Corruption

The head of the Military Intelligence and Security (SISM) of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), general António José Maria “Zé Maria”, has been an exception to the rule among the most trusted members of the presidential inner circle. His name does not appear linked to the plundering of State assets, as is the case with President Dos Santos’ henchmen. He is, however, well known for his involvement in petty scandals, such as public order offences. Nevertheless, an anonymous letter, posted on the internet and addressed to various leaders, including Dos Santos, provides leads to general Zé Maria’s active involvement in large-scale corruption. On the list of accusations, is the introduction, into SISM, of a company owned by general Zé Maria’s daughter, Nyanga Viandi Tyitapeka, providing consultancy services on matters of Intelligence. Such an accusation led Maka Angola to investigate the case. In December 2010, the general’s daughter, as a sole […]

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Government Uses Military in Mass Forced Evictions

By Alexandre Neto Seven helicopters and an apparatus of more than 500 men, including military personnel, police and security forces, took part in a military-styled operation that forcibly evicted over 5,000 people from the residential neighborhood of Mayombe, in the Cacuaco municipality, in Luanda, on February 1. According to local residents, the joint military and police forces took the community by surprise at early dawn, causing widespread panic. “At around 5am the bulldozers started razing the houses to the ground, evicting more than 5,000 people”, said Mateus Virgílio Mukito, one of the residents left homeless. Pedro Sebastião, another evictee, told Maka Angola that two children died in the operation. “They were running from the helicopters and ended up falling into a drainage ditch.” Other residents corroborated this information. According to Mr. Sebastião, given the level of panic within the community, it wasn’t even possible to hold funerals in the area. […]

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