17 October 2018

Angola: Operation Transparency Shuts Down 67 Illegal Diamonds Cooperatives

Luanda — At least 67 illegal diamonds cooperatives have been shut down by the Operation Transparency being conducted by Angola's border police, Criminal Investigation Service (SIC), plus the Immigration and Foreigners Service (SME), which resulted in the apprehension of 26,000 units of the precious stones.

The operation being primarily conducted in the provinces of Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Cuando Cubango, Moxico, Malanje, Uíge and Bié is aimed at improving the control by the Angolan authorities of the illegal immigration and exploitation of diamonds as well as the trafficking of the precious stones.

With these measures, said the spokesperson of the operation, Commissioner António Bernardo, it is expected that the trade of diamonds be made in a sustainable way, so as to contribute to the country's economy.

Speaking in a press conference, the spokesperson added that the operation is set to last until the year 2020, having explained that so far at least 260 citizens from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), who lived illegally lived in diamonds exploration zones, have voluntarily left Angola.

However, added the high ranking officer, it is expected that with this operation both Angolans and foreigners who illegally do such prospecting activity, trade and exploit diamonds discontinue this practice.

In the meantime, António Bernardo denied information reporting that the operation resulted in the death of two people.

He explained that in fact the two deaths that were recorded involving one local and one foreign citizen did not occur in the ambit of the operation.

He disclosed that the first victim died in a car crash in Camissongo region, north-eastern Lunda Norte Province, while the other one, an Angolan citizen, lost his life during a riot in eastern Lunda Sul Province.

Several refugees from DRC, who are currently sheltered in Lóvua Municipality, Lunda Norte, highlighted the support they have received from the Angolan authorities.

The about 35000 refugees, who are sheltered in Lunda Norte Province for over a year, denied the information that the Angolan government is compulsorily expelling the citizens from this neighbouring country.

Tshimanga Constantin, representative of the community of Congolese refugees confirmed that number of refugees and their presence in the Lóvua shelter area, while the operation is still underway.

However, the Lóvua Municipality administrator, Domingas Zeferino Martins, said that any eventual feud that occurred between locals and Congolese citizens was due to the violation or misappropriation of the plantation fields of Angolan citizens.

This conflict, said the official, could be overcome should there be major cooperation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) through the spreading of awareness actions on the rights and duties of the refugees.

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