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Suspected UNITA insurgents raid diamond mine

Suspected UNITA insurgents abducted seven Angolan nationals and killed a South African security consultant in a pre-dawn raid on a diamond mine near the Lunda Norte provincial capital of Lucapa on Monday.

A spokesman for a Johannesburg-based company, Gray Security Services, told IRIN on Wednesday that Clinton Whitehouse, described as a management consultant, died when a group of about 60 armed men attacked the mine works near the government-controlled town of Camafuca, outside Lucapa. He said there had been a similar attack on Monday at another nearby diamond mine in Casamba, but gave no details of the incident.

“They only got away with a few tins of canned food,” said the spokesman. “In seven years of service in Angola, this is the first security incident we have had. Our staff in Angola have never been hurt before, let alone killed.”
The South African company, according to its website, has offices in Britain and the United States, and provides security services in 12 countries around the world. It also protects senior South African government officials, and provides security for major oil companies and the South African diamond mining giant, De Beers.
The spokesman declined to give details on the mines attacked, other than to stress that in both cases they were operated by companies working with the Angolan government.

In a statement on the attacks, the South African foreign ministry said UNITA rebels could have been responsible.

“It would not necessarily be an attempt to take over, but to destabilise the (diamond) industry, because part of the tactic would be to reduce the capacity of the government to get any form of revenue for the purpose of having the resources to carry out the war,” said Wefile Nhlapho, the foreign ministry deputy director-general for Africa.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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