Angolan authorities have detained several civilians in Cabinda in recent days, following a deadly attack on Togo’s national soccer team by separatists in the oil producing province, a parliamentarian said yesterday.
Cabinda’s prosecutor Antonio Nito said he knew of only two arrests in connection with the January 8 attack on the Togo squad which killed two delegation members ahead of the African Nations Cup.
“To my knowledge, there have only been two people arrested in connection to the FLEC (Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda) attacks in Cabinda,” he told Reuters.
Raul Danda, who represents Cabinda in parliament, said several more arrests had taken place since the two suspects referred to by Nito were arrested on January 11.
Danda said a university professor, Belchior Tati and a former police officer, Pedro Fuca, had been arrested in recent days.
The arrests, if confirmed, could signal Angola has begun cracking down on people it suspects of being involved with FLEC. Human Rights Watch researcher Lisa Rimli said, in an email seen by Reuters that her organisation had received “concrete indications that the detention of members of the civil society were being carried out.”
“Among others, we received information of the imminent detention of a lawyer, Francisco Luemba, apparently for being accused of inciting violence in material included in a history book published in 2008 which he wrote.”
The Angolan government has asked for an international arrest warrant to be issued against FLEC leaders Nzita Tiago and Rodrigues Mingas, who are thought to be living in France.
Angola has also called on neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo for help in pursuing FLEC insurgents.