1. Home
  2. Southern Africa
  3. Angola

MSF-B says Angola expels more illegal miners

Medecins Sans Frontieres-Belgium said on Wednesday it had sent an emergency medical team to a sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo's border with Angola, following an announcement by the Angolan government that it was expelling another 18,000 Congolese illegal diamond miners. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had already reported the arrival of 68,000 exhausted Congolese at the DRC border provinces of Bandundu, Kasai Occidental, Kasai Orientale and Katanga. "There have been massive expulsions for ten days now," Gilbert Gitelman, OCHA's field coordinator, told reporters on Wednesday in Kinshasa, "families have been separated, intrusive body searches have been conducted on women, children have given laxatives to expel hidden diamonds, and women and even some men have been raped in public." Most of the Congolese had been mining illegally in the Angolan provinces of Malange and Lunda Norte. The Angolan ambassador to the DRC, Joao Mawete, has said his government would continue the expulsions. He has said at least 350,000 Congolias living illegally in Angola would be sent home. "The [expulsion] machine is working and will not stop," he said recently. He said that Angola needed to regain control of its economy having returned to peace following decades of war. Angola is also expelling 90,000 illegal miners from Albania, Mali, Mauritius, Senegal, Sierra Leone and South Africa. Some among the citizens of these countries have already been expelled. "Many of these people fought with UNITA against the Angolan government army and continued to mine diamonds illegally even in connivance with some government soldiers," Mawete said. The first wave of some 25,000 illegal Congolese miners was expelled in 2003, followed by another 10,000 in February. The expelled miners complained that Angolan police and soldiers were violent in carrying out the expulsions and had stolen their properties. Most of the expelled had walked long distances without food, medicines or shelter to reach their home regions in Congo, MSF-B said.

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

Share this article

Get the day’s top headlines in your inbox every morning

Starting at just $5 a month, you can become a member of The New Humanitarian and receive our premium newsletter, DAWNS Digest.

DAWNS Digest has been the trusted essential morning read for global aid and foreign policy professionals for more than 10 years.

Government, media, global governance organisations, NGOs, academics, and more subscribe to DAWNS to receive the day’s top global headlines of news and analysis in their inboxes every weekday morning.

It’s the perfect way to start your day.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian today and you’ll automatically be subscribed to DAWNS Digest – free of charge.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.