HRW urges Angola to probe extrajudicial killings

Wednesday June 6 2018

Angolan journalist and human rights activist

Angolan journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ARNALDO VIEIRA
By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) wants Angolan authorities to promptly investigate the suspected summary execution of a criminal suspect by police officers in Luanda.

HRW said Wednesday in a statement that the execution was captured on a video and shared on social media.

“Angolan police have a responsibility to fight crime within the confines of the law, and those who don’t should face punishment,” HRW quoted its Southern Africa director Dewa Mavhinga as saying.

“The apparent cold-blooded execution of a suspect requires Angolan authorities to promptly and impartially investigate members of the criminal investigation unit and appropriately prosecute any wrongdoing,” he was further quoted.

The incident

According to the lobby group, the case was one of the dozens of the reported killings by alleged police officers of young men suspected of crimes.

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“On the footage, recorded by a woman who said she witnessed the incident on June 1, 2018, an agent of the Angola Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) points an assault rifle at a man lying on the road unable to get up. Minutes later, another agent with a handgun arrives at the scene and fires several shots at the prone man,” the HRW statement reads.

Interior ministry spokesman Simão Milagres on Saturday confirmed the incident, promising to take immediate action against the culprits.

Investigative journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques Morais has documented dozens of extrajudicial executions by Angolan security forces.

Death squads

A February report published on the website Maka Angola contains 50 cases of killings of young men suspected of gang activities or petty crimes that are attributed to “death squads” linked to SIC.

In November, SIC denied the existence of death squads in Angola, but promised to investigate the cases highlighted by Mr Morais.

The results of the investigation, if any, have not been made public.

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