Angola: seven killed in latest forced evictions

Friday, March 26, 2010

Video of eviction and demolition courtesy of SOS-Habitat, Angola.

The latest in a series of brutal forced evictions in Angola has left seven people dead and 3800 families homeless.

Among the dead were four children aged between four and 12.

Riot police swept through a provincial capital, Lubango, clearing neighbourhoods before bulldozers arrived, demolishing houses in minutes.

Angolan national television confirmed 3800 families were driven from their homes which were then demolished. The eviction orders allegedly came from the Angolan Government.

Evictions occur regularly in the capital, Luanda, in major cities such as Benguela, and in rural communities, Ana Menezes, the Angola programme officer of ACT Alliance member Christian Aid said.

“Many houses have been demolished and many people evicted from their land in Angola because they are often in areas very rich in mineral resources or where there are strong economic interests.

“‘This is a major humanitarian emergency caused by a human rights violation. Sadly, this is not an isolated case.  This is part of a long-term pattern of violent, illegal land evictions and house demolitions,” Ms Menezes said.

A staff member of a Christian Aid partner said people in the Tchavola locality of Lubango were sheltering in school precincts or had been forcibly taken to areas with insufficient tents, in heavy rain.

“Some have been robbed by bandits at night due to the lack of protection and police supervision,” the staff member, José Patrocínio, said.

Christian Aid has written to the Huila provincial governor condemning the demolitions and saying many evicted families have been left in the open–air with their belongings where bad weather was damaging property. Families living in tents have been forced to share with other families.

Without water, sanitation, food, medical facilities, and schools, a humanitarian emergency was occurring, the March 25 letter said. Citizens claimed they would not receive compensation.

Christian Aid accused the governor of preventing the media reporting.   The evictions flouted international laws on evictions, the letter said.

ACT Angola response

ACT members in Angola have bought food and other relief goods for victims, supplementing goods already collected by local churches in Lubango.

Leaders of several churches and church organisations in Angola will travel to Lubango to visit the areas left in ruins.