- Central Africa
- Congo - DR Congo
- Immigration - Humanitarian
Angola, DRC and Congo deport illegal immigrants
Several people reported dead
Thousands of Congolese have been deported from Angola this year. The Republic of Congo has also deported DRC nationals from its territory. In a decision to retaliate, Kinshasa has decided deport illegal Angolan immigrants from the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC). The UN has warned of high numbers of human rights abuses.
The three central African countries — Angola, Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – have been an incredible source of information to the international media by virtue of their cancerous internal strives, wars and political impasses. In the face of a waning reputation as a disaster zone, the famous three have discovered a new way of attracting the spot-lights back, as thy scramble for the top bad news position in Africa.
Their first names have seemingly served as a tool in the fight against dangerous viruses than an operation to get rid of undesirable immigrants. "Cleansing" is the official term given to the deportation of undocumented immigrants from the two Congos (Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo —DRC) from the Angolan territory. Congo-Brazzaville, early September chose to name a similar operation, to rid itself of illegal DRC immigrants from the other side of the river Congo, the "sterilization" campaign. In response, and totally disregarding the scale of human misery, the DRC also embarked on a similar operation, justifying it with a more diplomatic term, "reciprocity!".
It began in Angola
Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos, who has served as president for the past thirty years, blew the whistle for the start of the disastrous three team match in 2004. Anxious to regain control over diamond mines in the northern provinces, once controlled by UNITA rebels, the government has taken to deporting thousands of Congolese manu militari from its territory, indicated Syfia.info. Most of them cross the border by foot!
Operation “cleansing,” launched by Luanda in January is based on the same strategy of surprise and brutality. First, security forces target areas with high illegal immigrant populations, such as markets. Secondly, they organize merciless raids on the targeted locations, sending unprepared immigrants back to their countries by foot. According to the UN, over 15 000 Congolese residents have been uprooted from the country since the beginning of the year.
Congo seeks to "sterilize" its soil
Although a similar operation under a carefully chosen name, "sterilization," conducted by the Republic of Congo to rid itself of nationals from neighbouring DRC, is probably not as effective as Angola’s, it has still managed to faithfully adhere to the same inhuman conditions. Early September, 600 people were deported to Kinshasa. Initially, DRC’s president, Joseph Kabila, was reluctant to respond, citing the need to preserve cordial neighbourly relations. But faced with the magnitude of the influx of deported DRC citizens from Angola, he decided to react.
Last week, he ordered the Congolese General Directorate of Migration (DGM) to expel illegal Angolans, under the principle of diplomatic reciprocity. The decision did not affect Congolese from the Republic of Congo due to a three month moratorium signed between the two countries. In the meantime, the DGM, on its part, is still rounding up undocumented Angolan immigrants in groups of 30 or 50, to send them back to Angola.
The UN condemns multiple violations of human rights
Intra-African deportations are marked by some of the most atrocious transport conditions. Victims do not have the luxury to go back to their countries by air. The UN has made known its concerns about the bad deportation conditions faced by Congolese in Angola. Some, reportedly, were forced to travel over 1000 km by foot to reach their villages in the Kasai Oriental province. Several others were found dead, after they suffocated in trucks in which they had been loaded.
NGOs have also reported several thousand cases of diarrhea and other diseases related to inhumane detention conditions. Several cases of rape and physical violence have also been reported. "These acts have been attributed to Angolan and Congolese security forces posted along the borders between the two countries," said Alan Doss, Special Representative of UN Secretary General in DRC, on Radio Okapi.
The UN has urged Kinshasa and Luanda to work together to find solutions and prevent another humanitarian catastrophe related to the deportations of illegal immigrants.