Angolan authorities could be planning to forcibly evict thousands of squatters living in the capital Luanda in a Mugabe-style slum clearance over the Christmas holiday, aid agency Christian Aid has warned.
Thousands of families who fled to Luanda for protection during the 27-year Angolan civil war which ended in 2002, live in squalid, self-constructed slums on wasteland.
The capital, home to 4.5 million people, is overflowing, inflating land prices which are among the highest in Africa. Angola’s great wealth of resources, mainly oil and diamonds, has led to increased demand for housing, including for foreign workers.
The government has been demolishing poor people’s homes, often to make way for new luxury housing since 2001. Angola’s ongoing programme of evictions, which the UN says have been growing more and more violent, has largely gone unnoticed.
According to Christian Aid’s Angolan partner organisation, SOS Habitat, which works to defend housing rights, more than 5,000 people have already lost their homes since 2001.
“Previous announcements by the Nova Vida project have been followed soon afterwards by a new wave of evictions and demolitions,” said Christian Aid’s Angola Programme Manager, Maria do Rosário Advirta,
“It is outrageous to treat people like dirt that can be swept away just because they are poor. The UN has already condemned these evictions. They are illegal under Angolan and international law.”
SOS Habitat director Luis Araujo added: “We’re asking the media and human rights groups to keep their eyes open during the Christmas period. We are worried that the authorities may try to move in over the festive period when they think no-one is looking. We have to make sure they know that people will be watching.”