Angola expels 2,248 illegal foreigners

Wednesday January 23 2019

Congolese migrants gather at the Chissanda border post in Dundo in the northern Lunda province on October 20, 2018.

Congolese migrants gather at the Chissanda border post in Dundo in Angola's northern Lunda Province on October 20, 2018. About 380,000 illegal migrants, mostly from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, left Angola in less than a month during a massive operation targeting diamond smuggling. PHOTO | AFP 

ARNALDO VIEIRA
By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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Angola has expelled 2,248 illegal foreigners, government officials said Tuesday.

According to the Foreign Migration Services, most of the immigrants were from Central and West Africa and were expelled last week.

The authorities say another 173 foreign nationals have been arrested for illegal stay in the country.

Last year, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) raised the alarm over mass expulsion of migrants saying it was characterised by numerous abuses.

In November, more than 400,000 people were forcibly returned or fled Angola following an operation targeting illegal diamond mining in its northern Lunda Norte Province.

“Angola should stop forcing people to leave the country until it can provide individual assessment and due process guarantees to distinguish irregular migrants from refugees and registered migrant workers,” HRW's Southern Africa director, Mr Dewa Mavhinga, said.

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Angolan authorities say that smuggling and illegal mining were organised and controlled by irregular migrants, but have produced no evidence to back up this claim. Many of those expelled contend that they were in the country legally.

Angola borders Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and Namibia and Botswana to the south.

The conflict in DR Congo has forced its nationals to flee to Angola and other neighbouring countries.

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