Thousands protested in Cuango, Luanda Norte province, on Saturday, June 24, to denounce police brutality and the arbitrary detention of separatist activists from the Lunda Chokwe Protectorate Movement. Police forces violently repressed the protest, including firing live ammunition at protesters. One individual was reportedly shot dead, 13 injured, and 78 arrested. As of Wednesday, June 28, 51 people remain in custody. Clashes were also reported in Saurimo, in the northeast of the Lunda Norte province. According to the president of the movement, who vowed to hold further protests, Angolan President Jose Edouard Dos Santos and local authorities were aware of the demonstration.
Angola, which has an undeveloped economy that is almost totally dependent on oil revenues, is relatively stable but has been rocked by outbreaks of separatist violence in recent years. The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) has been fighting for the independence of Cabinda, an oil-rich area, for four decades.
Angolan authorities arrested five Lunda Chokwe activists in March 2016 on suspicion of attempting to murder a police officer. All five activists are still in prison.
Western authorities generally advise against travel to Cabinda province as well as nonessential travel to Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces (as well as the city of Cabinda). Travel should only be considered with appropriate security protocols in place. Due to the threat of kidnapping, those present in Angola are advised to keep a low profile and to remain alert for suspicious behavior and signs of surveillance. If you notice something suspicious, move immediately to safety and report the incident or situation.
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