Angola condemned for migrant crackdown


DR Congo’s government condemned what it called violent expulsion by Angolan authorities of thousands of Congolese citizens during a crackdown on artisanal diamond mining.

Congolese migrants and officials said dozens were killed during a crackdown this month, an accusation Angola denies.
“Government condemns human rights violations and the loss of lives provoked by the expulsions,” spokesman Lambert Mende said in a statement.

Mende said about 28,000 Congolese were “brutally” expelled in violation of an agreement between the countries on freedom of movement. Angolan officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but previously denied abuses and said repatriations are voluntary.

The comments from Kinshasa will further increase tensions between the government of Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila and its erstwhile close ally. Two decades ago, Angola stepped in to rescue Kabila’s father, then president Laurent Kabila, from a Rwandan-backed rebel assault.

Angola is frustrated by Kabila’s handling of several crises, including instability caused by him not stepping aside when his mandate ended in 2016 and conflict in Kasai province that sent thousands of DRC refugees over the border.

In interviews with Reuters, Congolese migrants who crossed the border between October 4 and 12 spoke of violence, looting and forced displacement by Angolan security forces and a local ethnic group the Tshokwe.

Angola in recent weeks stepped up efforts to tackle diamond smuggling and raise revenue from the lucrative sector.