Luanda (Fides Service) – Catholic priests in Angola have denounced crimes against humanity, aggression of civilians by Angolan army troops in Cabina enclave, separated from Angola by the Republic of Congo. A report sent to Fides by Aid to the Church in Need ACN, Portuguese branch says that in the past 12 months Angolan military have committed acts of terror, violence and murder. ACN is an aid organisation directly dependent on the Holy See.
ACN Portuguese branch has launched a support campaign for Angola entitled “Indifference is a Crime” to “collect funds for the formation of priests and seminarians in Angola and that the Catholic Church may be recognised as the only credible institution for promoting peace and reconciliation in Cabinda and the rest of Angola”.
Paulo Bernardino ANC administrative Council chairman sent a letter to thousands of ACN benefactors in Portugal in which he denounces “violent acts of retaliation against villagers, summary executions, beatings, torture torching of homes and looting of property”.
In addition there are acts of sexual violence on women and even young girls; forced marriages, extra-judiciary detention; the people, mainly subsistence farmers, are prevented from farming fishing and many are forced to act as “guides” for military operations
Paulo Bernardino says “these crimes appear to be carried out with the complicity of the government. From Cabinda we receive heartbreaking cries for help. The horror lived by the people is all the more serious due to the tragedy of feeling they are abandoned to their destiny.
Recently a BBC correspondent in Luanda wrote a report on the situation in Cabinda for the Portuguese newspaper “Público”. In the article he quotes the Bishop of Cabinda, Mgr Paulino Madeca who affirms “sadly the political situation in the enclave has deteriorated in recent years. The logic of war prevails as the solution to the so-called ‘Cabina case’”.
For years Cabinda enclave has been the scene of a civil war between the Angolan army and guerrillas of the FLEC (Cabinda Enclave Liberation Front) fighting for independence from Angola.
Cabinda is rich in oil producing 700,000 drums a day. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 14/11/2003, lines 36 words 401)