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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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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General Zé Maria’s Spring Clean

Although at 74 he is well over retirement age (65) and was expected to be forcibly retired this month, General António José Maria – the Angolan President’s most faithful servant for nearly 40 years – is being allowed to remain at the head of the Military Intelligence and Security Service (SISM) until the elections at which President José Eduardo dos Santos will step down. His subordinates, who were expecting him to have left already, are increasingly unable to contain their frustration at his unorthodox leadership style, frequently marked by personal quirks which they say are unbecoming in a senior officer. General Zé Maria’s latest ‘wheeze’ was to demand that all civilian employees engaged in courses of study must produce their certificates and course marks for inspection by February 27 so he may personally evaluate their grades. Some 50 civilian employees are affected and any employee with failing grades is expected […]

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Angolan Army Battles Trade in Stolen Guns

The Angolan authorities seem at a loss to know how to react to the discovery that more than seventy AK47 military rifles have gone missing from a security unit stationed at the Petrangol oil refinery. The shortfall was first discovered back in May at the São Pedro da Barra base in the Petrangol zone. A subsequent military investigation determined that the arms had been smuggled out one by one for sale to a private security firm. Yet, instead of facing a court martial, the man held responsible, Lieutenant Colonel Ugando Bravo, known as ‘TC Roger’, has simply been transferred to other duties. The ‘Economic Objective Protection Unit’(known by its Portuguese acronym, UPOE) was set up and stationed at the Petrangol oil refinery in Luanda in the wake of an act of sabotage by South African commandos in November 1981 which resulted in the partial destruction of the refinery. The security […]

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Brewing Discontent Within the Intelligence and Security Services

Operatives from the State Intelligence and Security Service (SINSE) recently addressed a letter to President José Eduardo dos Santos, in which it gave an account of the increasing levels of discouragement among their ranks, due to a lack of leadership and poor working conditions. SINSE has a budget of KZ 66.6 billion (US$695 million) for the current year. Funds were also fairly generous in previous years. However, the distribution of much of these funds remains a mystery to the operatives. In the confidential correspondence sent to the President, SINSE operatives request that José Eduardo dos Santos agrees to attend a meeting with them, so that they can explain their grievances and the institutional impediments preventing them from doing their work. In advance, SINSE officials reveal that the current head of the institution, Sebastião Martins, rarely comes to the office, and when he does, he lacks motivation and authority. Last October, […]

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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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