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Angola: Arrested and Disappeared for “Thinking Differently”

[All links lead to Portuguese language pages except when otherwise stated.]

Yet another protest scheduled for this Saturday, March 30, in Luanda ended with at least 18 detained.

The protest action, announced on Facebook, called for “dignity and the right to life for those who think differently”, remembering journalists and activists who have been silenced in Angola, among those Alves Cassule and Isaias Kamulingue disappeared since May 2012:

(…) já esperámos demais, Cassule e Kamulingue esperaram demais, Milocas [jornalista guineense desaparecida em 2012 em Angola, como reportado pelo Global Voices] esperou demais, Mfulupinga [morto em 2004] esperou demais, Ricardo de Mello [morto em 1995] esperou demais, tantos outros que vão sendo empurrados para o limbo do esquecimento, cidadãos que não gozam nem do direito póstumo a uma investigação condigna que faça luz sobre os factos que conduziram ao seu desaparecimento físico.

We have already waited too long, Cassule and Kamulingue waited too long, Milocas [Guinea-Bissaun journalist disappeared in Angola, as reported by Global Voices - en] waited too long, Mfulupinga [killed in 2004] waited too long, Ricardo de Mello [killed in 1995] waited too long, and so many others that are being pushed into the limbo of oblivion, citizens who do not even enjoy the posthumous right of investigation to cast light on the events that led to their physical disappearances.

“Where are Cassule and Kamulingue?”

For approximately 330 days the families of Alves Cassule and Isaias Kamulingue have lived with their hearts in their throats and not knowing the whereabouts of the activists. Alves Cassule and Isaias Kamulingue disappeared when they were trying to organize a protest and since then hours passed, days went by and there has been no sign of the two young men.

Imagem partilhada por Bloco Democrático de Angola no Facebook.

Image shared by Bloco Democrático de Angola on Facebook.

In an unceasing attempt to find out where their children are, the families do not want to accept that they are dead. On social networks, principally Facebook, a number of internet users insist on asking where the two activists are, and others go further and question who would have killed them.

In a comment made in the group Onde estão Cassule e Kamulingue? (Where are Cassule and Kamulingue) Luís Araújo says:

Não nos esqueceremos deles, continuaremos a exigir que nos seja dito o que é que os agentes da ditadura endocolonialista de José Eduardo dos Santos fizeram com os nossos dois compatriotas. Seja o que for que a ditadura endocolonialista tenha feito com eles e ou deles vamos acabar por saber com rigor. Quem quer que seja o responsável pelo que lhes tenha acontecido e ou esteja a acontecer vai ter que assumir as responsabilidades morais e criminais de mais essa violação dos direitos humanos, pois são muitas, demasiadas, as violações desses direitos a que a justiça continua sendo falha. EXIGE DIGNIDADE COM DIGNIDADE.

We have not forgotten about them, and we will continue to demand that we are told what the agents of the endo-colonialist dictatorship of José Eduardo dos Santos did with our two compatriots. Whatever the endo-colonialist dictatorship has done with them or to them we will end up knowing everything. Whoever is responsible for what has happened to them or what is happening to them will have to take moral and criminal responsibility for yet another violation of human rights, as there are many, too many, violations of these rights that justice continues to overlook. DEMAND DIGNITY WITH DIGNITY.

Angolan journalist Ana Margoso, said on her wall:

Estou longe de casa, no Kuchi, interior do Kuando Kubango, fiquei emocionada, porque ouvi a população deste lugar cantar na língua local, quem matou Cassule e Kamulingue… A mensagem passa afinal . Mesmo sem TPA, mesmo sem RNA, [Televisão e Rádio Pública de Angola] mesmo com a manipulação da informação, a mensagem está a passar no boca-à-boca. GAME OVER regime caduco!

I am far from home, in Kuchi, interior of Kuando Kubango, and I got emotional, because I heard people in this place singing in their local language who killed Cassule and Kamulingu… The message is getting around in the end. Even without state TV or radio, even with the manipulation of information, the message is getting around by word of mouth. GAME OVER expired regime.

Silence is a constant in the investigation being conducted by the police in Luanda. In the midst of uncertainty, space for rumors is opened. On her profile, Cassessa Vengue reported that some political party could be strategically involved in the disappearance of the two activists:

DNIC [Direcção Nacional de Investigação Criminal] PODE TER DESCOBERTA CONVERSA, ENTRE KASSULE/CAMULINGUE E DIRIGENTES DA UNITA. As fontes, confirmaram que assim que o processo de investigação estiver pronto, e se tais provas forem viáveis, serão apresentadas em público. O que é facto é que dirigentes como Isaías Samakuva, General Numa, e dirigentes da Rádio Deseprtar terão mantido contactos telefónicos, com os dois desaparecidos. As suspeitas, segundo as quais a UNITA terá feito desaparecer os jovens para comprometer o Executivo angolano, é quase uma certeza.

DNIC [National Office of Criminal Investigation] COULD HAVE DISCOVERED CONVERSATION, BETWEEN KASSULE/CAMULINGUE AND LEADERS OF UNITA. Sources will confirm as soon as the investigation process has ended, and if such proof is viable, it will be presented to the public. What is fact is that leaders like Isaías Samakuva, General Numa, and leaders of Radio Despertar have had telephone contact with the two disappeared. The suspicion, according to which UNITA would have disappeared them to compromise the Angolan executive, is almost a certainty.

Almost a year after, the families of the disappeared continue to push for the National Police, or other state entity, to duly investigate the disappearance of the two activists. In an interview with the VOA, Veloso Cassule, brother of Isaías Cassule, said:

Cartaz da manifestação convocada no Facebook.

Poster for the protest announced on Facebook.

Nós estamos a achar que eles não estão a fazer nenhuma investigação porque eles também têm medo. Nós assim não sabemos o que vamos fazer ou vamos nos unir com outra família e vamos sair às ruas

We believe that they are not conducting any investigation because they are also scared. So we do not know what we are going to do or if we will join with the other family and go to the streets

On social networks, a number of internet users have urged the families to march on the streets of Luanda. In one comment, Mauro Sérgio said:

Se as duas famílias saírem a rua podem ter a certeza terão bastante apoio, aconteceu com a família deles podia ser com a nossa… são duas vidas então as pessoas envolvidas no desaparecimento dos mesmo têm que libertar esses jovens, cometeram crime nenhum mesmo se cometessem devia se tomar as medidas apropriadas para os corrigir. queremos os dois jovens de volta as suas casas, temos e vamos apoiar quando os familiares saírem as ruas…..

If the two families go to the streets they can be sure they will have a good deal of support, what happened to their families could happen to ours… these are two lives so the people involved in this disappearance need to free the young people, who did not commit any crime and if they did the proper measures should have been taken to correct that. We want the two young people back in their homes, we have to and we will support family members when they go to the streets…..

A number of young people and Angolan activists joined the cause announcing a peaceful protest that should have left the Santana Cemetery at 10am marching to Independence Square.

Meanwhile, Central Angola reports that “after the meeting of all legal requirements, [the protest] was target of the usual repression by the regime”. There were reports of 18 detained, among those rapper Luaty Beirão and journalist Pedrowski Teca.

As this unfolds, a return to normality for the families of Isaías Cassule and Alves Kamulingue will only be possible when they find our their whereabouts.

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