Ver Angola


Police prevent the realization of a peace conference in Cabinda for “non-compliance with formalities”

The police prevented the realization of a peace conference at a hotel in Cabinda on Saturday, alleging failure to comply with legal formalities by the event's organizers.

: Lusa

The conference on peace in Cabinda, north of the country, organized by the organizations Omunga and the Association for the Development of the Culture of Human Rights (ADCDH) had as guests Pastor Ntoni a Nzinga, Father Celestino Epalanga, lawyer and activist Arão Tempo and the politician and general secretary of the Cabindesa Consensual Front, Belchior Tati, but it ended up not happening.

According to Celestino Epalanga, "in the early hours of the day, the police went to besiege the Maiombe hotel (where the event would take place)", and the speakers found a strong police device when they arrived at the place.

"We found a scene with a lot of police around, some heavily armed", he told Lusa.

Celestino Epalanga said that the executive director of Omunga, João Malavindele tried to talk to the police chiefs to obtain clarification, having been transmitted that "they were following orders from above".

"We were there for about 20 minutes and then we came back," he continued.

The Jesuit priest of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST) said that the conference was to take place in April, "the month of peace", but it did not take place due to alleged lack of documentation signed by a legalized human rights organization.

"The problem is in the type of speakers, probably talking about peace in Cabinda is a very serious problem, it is forbidden", he lamented.

For Celestino Epalanga, who is still awaiting his return to Luanda, an opportunity has been missed to talk about the systematic and permanent violation of human rights in Cabinda.

"Today was another test, we saw the freedom of assembly restricted", he criticized.

"The police prevented access to the hotel itself, claiming that the government does not authorize this conference. We asked who in the government it was and they said they had superior orders", said the president of the ADCDH, Alexandre Kwanga.

The activist added that the police forced a journalist from a local media outlet (TV União) to delete the interview with the Catholic priest.

Speaking to Lusa, Chala Gime, director of the institutional communication and press office of the Ministry of the Interior in Cabinda, said that the police attended the hotel because Omunga "did not comply with the administrative requirements at the provincial government level that should authorize the of that activity".

"Omunga is an association from another province. To come and do an activity, you must inform the government. In addition, it appears associated with the ADCDH, which has no legitimacy, because it is not legal. Illegitimate things cannot be legitimized, and that is why the police appeared at the scene to prevent the activity from taking place. The organization did not fulfill the legal formalities", he indicated.

Lusa questioned the head of the Ministry of the Interior about whether the provincial government of Cabinda, led by Marcos Nhunga, called the police to the scene, but he declined to respond.

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