Angola’s ruling MPLA party on Tuesday accused the main opposition group, UNITA, of seeking to cause “chaos and anarchy” by planning nationwide rallies on Saturday to protest against the kidnapping of two activists last year.
Prosecutors said last week that Isaias Cassule and Antonio Alves Camulingui, who were involved in organizing protests by former presidential guards to demand payment of wage arrears, had been kidnapped and possibly murdered in May 2012.
Authorities have detained four suspects, but in strongly worded statement on Friday UNITA called the rallies to demand those who had ordered the kidnappings be held responsible and blamed President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for not preventing or investigating the crimes.
“The (MPLA) Political Bureau considers UNITA is clearly and irresponsibly taking political advantage… it is opportunistic to hold rallies under the pretext of protesting the disappearances,” the MPLA said in a statement.
“Its only goal is to demand a change of regime, outside any political legitimacy, seeking to create a situation of chaos and anarchy with violence, subversion and terrorism, to prepare an ante-chamber for a new conflict,” it added.
Former rebel group UNITA lost a 27-year civil war to the MPLA in 2002 and has since been trounced in two elections.
It has long accused Dos Santos of suppressing human rights and using excessive violence to clamp down on dissent during his 34-year rule over Africa’s No. 2 oil producer.
The MPLA said the investigation into the disappearances had been ordered by the president and that everyone found responsible will be punished.
It alleged that UNITA is losing support and has been inspired by Mozambique’s Renamo opposition guerrillas, who have staged attacks and clashed with government forces in recent months after two decades of peace following a devastating 1975-1992 civil war.