Earlier this week, several Angolan Catholic bishops denounced a “serious massacre” in Cafunfo, a city in northeastern Angola, in the Lunda region.
According to reports shared on social media, Angolan forces fired on unarmed protesters who belonged to the Lunda Tchokwe Portuguese Protectorate Movement (MPPLT), causing 15 deaths and 10 injuries.
The demonstration was marked to mark the 127th anniversary of the international recognition of the Portuguese protectorate treaty in the Lunda region and demanded better living conditions. Lunda has been clamoring for independence for decades, but the Angolan government completely rejects the idea.
MPPLT President José Mateus Zecamutchima said the death toll is not definitive – there are still many missing, including people who have fled to the woods. Among the fatalities is the son of a regional secretary of the organization.
The police authorities present another version of the events. They argue that in the clashes, allegedly triggered by an attempted invasion of a fleet, “only” six deaths occurred.
The commander-general of the National Police of Angola, Paulo de Almeida, said, this Tuesday, that the violent response was in self-defense. And he warned that “those who try to invade the police stations or any other institution to seize power, will have a prompt, efficient and disproportionate response from the National Police”.
«You are attacking the Angolan State with a knife, he responds with a pistol, if you are attacking with a pistol he responds with AKM, if you are attacking with AKM, he responds with a bazooka, if you are attacking with a bazooka, he responds with a missile, whether land to land, land-sea or even if it is intercontinental, he will turn around and then he will attack ”, said the commander-general.
What is MPPLT?
The Lunda Tchokwe Protectorate Movement fights for the autonomy of the Lundas region, based on a Protectorate Agreement signed between natives Lunda-Tchokwe and Portugal in the years 1885 and 1894, which would give the territory an internationally recognized status.
However, this agreement would have been ignored when Portugal negotiated Angola’s independence between 1974/1975 only with the liberation movements, accuses the MPPLT.
The Angolan State does not recognize the MPPLT’s claims, defending the country’s territorial unity.
In addition to the historical and territorial question, there are motivations of economic order, since the region is rich in diamonds.
Source: Agencies /SOL