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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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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Diamond Barons Destroy Food Crops

Several hundred Angolan peasants and their families reportedly face the prospect of a state-sponsored famine in the northeastern diamond region of Lunda Norte thanks to the decision to destroy villages, homes and crops to expand mining operations. The Angolan diamond mining conglomerate, Sociedade Mineira do Cuango (SMC) is accused of ordering the systematic destruction of hundreds of food crop plantations in the Cafunfo area (Cuango municipality), with the local MPLA administration ordering the compulsory removal of the villagers and destruction of their homes, cash crops and vegetable gardens. Villagers complain that compensation for their destroyed harvests is wholly inadequate, amounting to 60,000 kwanzas (about US $115) in the informal exchange rate) and some empty water barrels. “The peasant may have planted crops in an area of between one and four hectares, but each only gets a maximum of 60,000 kwanzas sum, regardless of the size of the area cultivated,” says […]

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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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Chiefs Denounce Human Rights Abuses in Angola’s Diamond Areas

A delegation of four traditional leaders representing the northeastern provinces of Lunda-Norte and Lunda-Sul provinces delivered today a petition to the Attorney-General of the Republic, general João Maria Moreira de Sousa, denouncing systematic violations of human rights in the diamond areas. The petition asks for the re-opening of a preliminary investigation, archived by the Attorney-General’s office last June, on human rights violations exposed by journalist Rafael Marques in his book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola. The author lodged a criminal complaint against nine generals of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) as moral authors of systematic crimes of torture and assassination committed by guards of their private security company Teleservice. The generals, including the minister of State and head of Intelligence, general Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias “Kopelipa”, are also the owners of private company Lumanhe, the partner of the diamond mining joint-venture Sociedade Mineira do Cuango, in which concession […]

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Diamond Digger Shot Dead in Cafunfo

Nelson Miguel Muatxicungo, a diamond digger, was shot dead on Friday evening by guards working for the private security company Bicuar in the Lunda Norte province, Angola. Muatxicungo worked in the informal sector of the diamond industry in the Tchimango area of Cafunfo, part of Cuango municipality. He died after being shot in the chest around 8pm. Bicuar was hired six months ago by the mining company Sociedade Mineira do Cuango, which controls the diamond sector in that region. The largest private security company in the country, Teleservice, previously provided security services there. The informal diggers, known in Angola as garimpeiros, often have no choice but to bribe the guards in order to be allowed to continue digging. “On Monday [September 10] we paid US$150 to four Bicuar guards at the Tchimango post in order to be able to dig diamonds together with them,” explained Monteiro Joaquim, 51, who organised […]

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