Jul 05, 2005

Cabinda: Impressive Increase in Angolan Special Police Forces


A peaceful demonstration had been scheduled for this Saturday in Cabinda, to call for the end of the war in Cabinda, for the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict and to protest the intention of the MPLA to try and outlaw Mpalabanda
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“Cabinda is in a state of emergency”, according to accounts from several sources, who added that there has been an “impressive increase in Angolan special police forces, better known as “Ninjas”.

Within the framework of events promoted by the “Campaign for a democratic Angola”, a peaceful demonstration had been scheduled for this Saturday in Cabinda, to call for the end of the war in Cabinda, for the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict and to protest the intention of the MPLA (partido no poder em Angola) to try and outlaw Mpalabanda (The Civil Society Association of Cabinda).

Friday, on the eve of the event, the Provincial Government of Cabinda, following instructions from the Government in Luanda, decided to forbid the demonstration, increasing the tension in the territory.

Fearing the reaction of the population, which held the support of the Angolan opposition parties, the Government of Luanda decided to reinforce security in Cabinda, sending in several units of its elite police. “All roads are filled with military, police and ‘Ninjas’” a source guaranteed Ibinda.com.

According to a witness, the behaviour of the normal police “was considered too mild, therefore the Government decided on the intervention of the ‘Ninjas’, one of the elite police forces most feared by the populations”. The same source revealed that eleven youths (eight men and three women) were “immediately detained by the ‘Ninjas’”.

An eyewitness contacted by Ibinda.com stated that “since a week ago Cabinda is living under a state of emergency and though the ‘Ninjas’ are present on every street, the youth has shown no fear of this strong arm apparatus, and the atmosphere among the population is of intense perturbation”. He adds that Mpalabanda “immediately went out to the streets to try and prevent any violent exchanges with the police”.

The Provincial Government’s forbidding of the “Demonstration for Peace”, at the behest of the Government in Luanda, raised the tension in Cabinda, already at high point since the Rapid Intervention Police were called into action during demonstrations held for the trial of Ivo Macaia, Domingos Paulo Ferreira, Simão Linga e Zeferino Muanda Luzolo, accused of collaborating with FLEC.

Parallel to these incidents, in the context of the controversial appointment of D. Filomeno Vieira Dias, the visit of three bishops to Cabinda nurtured a feeling of “revolt” among the binda youth.

A source of Ibinda.com added that they feared for a dramatic deterioration of the situation and fears the “police may begin to shoot to kill”. “They say in the corridors that there are Government orders that should it not be possible to control the current tensions, the police may fire against the population.”

Source: Ibinda.com