At least 180,000 illegal migrants suspected of diamond smuggling have been forced to return to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from Lunda Norte province as of Wednesday, October 10, amid a security crackdown initiated on October 4. The security operations reportedly triggered clashes between Congolese nationals, security forces, and local Angolans in the town of Lucapa on October 8, resulting in the deaths of one police officer and ten Congolese. However, the police have denied these reports.
Furthermore, at least 800 foreigners from the DRC, Lebanon, Mali, and Nigeria were reportedly arrested over involvement in the illegal diamond trade in the area. Further evictions, arrests, and related unrest are possible in the coming days.
Lunda Norte province is known for its diamond reserves and related criminal activity.
Individuals present in the area should monitor the situation and obey all instructions issued by local authorities. On a related note, Western governments generally advise against nonessential travel to Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces due to risks related to smuggling activities. Travel should only be considered with appropriate security protocols in place.
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