"Amnesty International can confirm that since January 30, Angolan security forces have killed at least ten people," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International's deputy director for southern Africa.
She warned that "the authorities continue to persecute peaceful demonstrators whose only 'crime' has been to contest the deplorable living conditions" in the province.
The police violently suppressed last Saturday a demonstration called by the Movement of the Portuguese Protectorate of Lunda Tchokwe (MPPLT), in the village of Cafunfo, in the Angolan province of Lunda-Norte, to mark the 127th anniversary of the international recognition of the Portuguese Protectorate of Lunda.
The Angolan police officially counted six dead and several wounded, among them members of the defense and security forces, resulting from an alleged act of rebellion attributed to the Portuguese Protectorate Movement of Lunda Tchokwe (MPPLT), whose elements accused of trying to invade a police station in Cafunfo in the early hours of Saturday.
The MPPLT contradicts the police version and its president said that Angolan forces fired indiscriminately at unarmed demonstrators, causing 15 deaths and 10 wounded.
"The number of deaths following this incident may be higher, because many demonstrators are still missing," said the executive director of the non-governmental organization OMUNGA, João Malavindele.
According to the same source, a video circulating on social networks filmed on January 30 shows several bodies on the ground while a policeman kicks and steps on the head of a seriously injured victim.
"Angolan authorities must launch a swift, thorough, independent, effective and transparent investigation into the killings and bring suspects to justice in fair trials that meet international standards. The victims and their families must have access to justice and effective remedies," Malavindele added.
Amnesty International and OMUNGA work together and have been denouncing abuses by Angolan security forces to deal with violations of public health measures enacted under the covid-19 pandemic and peaceful demonstrations.
The two organizations registered 11 deaths in 2020 by the security forces, but they believe the death toll is "probably much higher".
The Lunda Tchokwe Protected Movement is fighting for autonomy in the Lundas region of East-North Angola.
The autonomy of the diamond-rich Lundas region (Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul in eastern Angola) is claimed by this movement, which is based on a Protectorate Agreement between native Lunda-Tchokwe and Portugal in 1885 and 1894 that would give the territory an internationally recognized status.
Portugal would have ignored the kingdom's condition when it negotiated Angola's independence between 1974 and 1975 only with the liberation movements, according to the movement.