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Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 02 Sixty-two activists, protesters arbitrarily held Forty protesters freed, ten still detained
FI 018/19-2
Abgeschlossen am 21. Juni 2019

Forty protesters freed, ten still detained

AI-Index: AFR 12/0320/2019

A judge at the Cabinda Court ordered the provisional release of 40 more protesters on 19 April. Ten other protesters remain arbitrarily detained without charge, arrested for their involvement in peaceful protests. One female is detained at Yabi prison and nine males are detained at Cabinda civil prison. Several of the protesters have alleged that police officers subjected them to ill-treatment.


The Treaty of Simulambuco was signed on 1 February 1885. It gave Cabinda the status of a protectorate of the Portuguese Crown.

On 7 January, the Independence Movement of Cabinda (Movimento Independista de Cabinda – MIC) Secretary sent a communication to the President of the Republic of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço and copies to the Provincial Government of Cabinda, the Provincial Police Command, the Public Prosecutor of the Republic, to Angolan political parties and other authorities to inform them about the peaceful protest scheduled for 1 February. The MIC asked for the Angolan Police to be present at the protest to ensure the safety of protesters.

Cabinda is located on a sliver of land sandwiched between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congo Republic. It is internationally recognized as part of Angola and produces most of the country’s oil export. Separatist groups have been seeking independence or autonomy from Angola for over 20 years. The Angolan Government’s attempts to negotiate with representatives of the Cabindan separatist groups have not been successful.

Angolan security forces arrested eight youth activists from MIC at their homes on 28 January in Cabinda Province, Angola. They were preparing leaflets in readiness for a peaceful protest scheduled for 1 February.

The next day, 20 people, including family members and colleagues of the detained youth activists, were arrested by the police while peacefully protesting to demand their release in front of the Service of Criminal Investigation building also in Cabinda. Protesters took to the streets of Cabinda on 1 February to celebrate the 134th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Simulambuco and to reiterate calls for Cabinda’s independence from Angola. They also called for the release of those previously arrested. On 12 February, the police arrested another activist allegedly for his involvement in the same peaceful protest.

Amnesty International is also concerned with the continued excessive use of force by police against protesters and their arbitrary arrests. On 1 March, MIC activists and family members of the 50 detained protesters were preparing a demonstration at the 1st of May square in Cabinda to demand their release. The police arrived before the start of the protest and began to assault the protesters, kicking and punching them. The police arrested 11 people who were released hours later without charge. Seven of the arrested protesters were hospitalized due to the police beatings and returned home on the next day

Several protesters, some of who have been released, allege being subjected to ill-treatment by police officers at the time of their arrest and while in prison. They say that they were beaten by police officers.

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