Football village sealed off

2010-01-11 19:49

kalahari.com

Cabinda  - Angolan security forces have sealed off the complex housing the football teams contesting the Africa Cup of Nations in restive Cabinda province, hoping to ward off any new separatist attack.

Since Friday's attack on Togo's squad that killed two people, little has changed in the small town of Cabinda. But the complex dubbed an "Olympic village", now housing Burkina Faso, Ghana and Ivory Coast, has been cut off from the world.

Police and soldiers patrol the village's perimeter on foot, in all-terrain vehicles, and on motorcycles. Highly visible special forces, known as "Ninjas" and feared throughout the province, wear sombre uniforms and carry AK-47s.

"Right now there are more police than normal," said 29-year-old Jean-Baptiste Mataia. Normal in Cabinda means one soldier for every 10 residents.

After the 2002 ceasefire that ended 27 years of civil war in the rest of the country, Angola deployed 30 000 soldiers to Cabinda to crush the separatist rebellion, according to Human Rights Watch.

It's a costly military campaign that Angola sees as essential to safeguarding its control over a tiny province of just 7 300km², squeezed between Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Much of Cabinda's value lies underground, with wells that pump more than half of the oil that made Angola the top producer in Africa last year.

Image of peace

The government in Luanda has for years tried to project an image of peace in the province, but that illusion was shattered on Friday with the separatist attack on Togo's football team, killing two of the squad in a 20-minute gunbattle with security forces.

Togo pulled out of the competition, but Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos - in power for 30 years - decided not to move the matches scheduled for Cabinda.

The government has repeatedly assured the tournament's organisers, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), that all the squads will be safe through to the final on January 31.

State media are also pushing the government effort.

"Radio and TV are asking the people to mobilise against people from the opposition," Mataia said.

"After the attack against Togo, security has been reinforced for the players and the matches. There is now total security, people are not afraid," he added.

Andre Kuango, coordinator of the Cabinda Forum for Dialogue, which groups ex-rebels and civil society to negotiate with the government, said that it was safe to move around Cabinda.

"In my opinion, Cabinda doesn't fear another attack like that, but it can't be ruled out," he said. "Some elements could have infiltrated."

But he insisted: "Security is going to be reinforced, like CAF wanted."

One trader in the town, however, remained cautious.

"No one expects an attack against residents," he said, but added: "We might wait a while before leaving town."

Read more on:    caf  |  angola
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Health
 

Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Before you embark on a fitness or training programme, set yourself clear and realistic long-term and short-term goals.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

This all-terrain vehicle is badass!
The TRUTH about painkillers and exercise
WIN! Where were you when you last felt alive?
Watch: Fishing under ice

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on electronics!

Get mind blowing savings on top electronic products. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be spending too much time organising and trying to control things to make sure everything is perfect instead of just...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.