Togo deaths 'excuse to round up activists'

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The Independent Online

Angolan police are rounding up peaceful activists and accusing them of responsibility for this month's deadly attack on the Togo football team, a human rights lawyer said.

Martinho Nombo said the five people arrested over the past week were not related to the separatist group that has claimed responsibility for the ambush that killed three people and wounded eight. Authorities had already arrested two members of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Flec). "But the five others that have been arrested have nothing to do with Flec," Mr Nombo said.

"They are just intellectuals expressing opinions the government doesn't share. And as soon as somebody criticises the government, he is tagged as Flec."

The Angolan government has denied previous charges from international human rights groups that its military has committed atrocities in Cabinda, a restive, oil-rich outpost that shares no borders with the Angolan mainland. Yesterday Amnesty International called on the government "to ensure that this deplorable incident is not used as an excuse to violate the rights of citizens".