Angola court acquits 13 Cabinda separatists

2018-08-17 14:57
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Thirteen separatists in an oil-rich enclave on Africa's west coast ruled by Angola have been acquitted of charges of crimes against state security, local media said on Friday.

The activists are members of a small secessionist group, the Cabinda Independence Movement, whose organisation is seeking "dialogue" with Luanda on holding a referendum on self-determination.

They were arrested last Friday during a meeting to organise a public debate on the enclave's autonomy.

They were charged with crime against state security. The interior ministry said "hostile propaganda material” had been seized.

In court, the activists said they had informed the authorities of the planned debate and even invited Cabinda's provincial governor, political parties and churches to participate in it.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

The judge ruled that the meeting was not illegal.

"Angolan police should stop treating activists as enemies of the state," Zenaida Machado, Angola specialist at Human Rights Watch, told AFP.

"Peaceful meetings to arbitrarily arrest people is not only a shameful abuse, it is also an embarrassment for the Angolan government," she said.

Machado said the decision to drop the charges was "encouraging."

"We hope this trend is here to stay," said Machado.

A lawyer for the activists, Arao Bula Tempo, also hailed "the independence of the court".

Cabinda is a coastal exclave with the status of a province of Angola. It produces 60% of Angola's oil.

It shares a northern border with the Republic of Congo, and a southern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has a narrow strip of territory giving it access to the sea.

Cabinda has been rocked by a separatist insurgency since it officially became part of Angola at independence.

The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), is by far the largest separatist movement. It has been fighting for the independence for four decades.

Read more on:    human rights watch  |  angola  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
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.