Angolan authorities have detained four people for the suspected kidnapping and possible killing of two protest organizers who have been missing since May 2012, the prosecution service (PGR) said on Wednesday.
Isaias Cassule and Antonio Alves Camulingui were involved in organizing protests by former presidential guards to demand payment of wage arrears. Local and international rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have urged Angolan authorities to investigate their disappearance.
“On November 8, given the evidence collected, it became practically proven that the two missing citizens, Camulingui and Cassule, were kidnapped on May 27 and 29 (2012) respectively,” the PGR said in a statement.
“Their whereabouts are still unknown, and the possibility that they were victims of murder has not been discarded.”
Rights groups and opposition parties have long accused President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of suppressing human rights during his 34-year rule in Africa’s No. 2 oil producer. The president led his MPLA party to a strong election win in 2012 to secure a new five-year term.
Angolan authorities have clamped down forcefully on a youth movement that has held several small demonstrations since March 2011 calling for Dos Santos to quit.
A 17-year old member of the group who had been in prison for two months on charges of insulting the president was released from pre-trial detention on Friday shortly after starting a hunger strike.
Dos Santos said earlier this year that the movement was not representative and that most Angolans supported him.