CONGOLESE migrants flood home, Angola denied claim of brutal crackdown :

Congolese migrants and officials said dozens of people were killed this month in neighboring Angola in a on artisanal diamond mining, an accusation Angolan security forces strongly denied.

Angola, the world's fifth largest diamond producer, has launched an operation in recent weeks to clear tens of thousands of people involved in digging for precious stones in the northeast of the country in order to attract more private investment.

Many of them are from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] and hundreds of thousands of people have poured over the border into the Kansai region, border guards there told Reuters.

In interviews with Reuters more than 20 Congolese migrants who crossed the border between October 4 - 12 described violence, looting and forced displacement by Angolan security forces as well as a local tribe called the Tshokwe.

The worse of the violence, they said, occurred in the town of Lucapa, located some 100  km south of  the border with DRC in the heart of the diamond-rich  Lunda North province.

Angolan forces stormed the town, according to 15 witnesses, killing dozens of people, burning down homes, looting property and forcing people to leave. Some of those people were legally residing in Angola, the wirnesses added.

''There was a lot of violence in Lucapa. The military was shooting at us while Tshowke were killing people with machetes. They jointly killed more than a dozen people,'' said Victor Tshambapoko 28, who worked as a diamond digger in the region. [Agencies]


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