UN human rights office draws attention to ‘alarming’ reports of massacre in Angola

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

12 May 2015 – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today urged the Angolan Government to ensure “a truly meaningful, independent, thorough investigation” into reports of an alleged massacre in the central province of Huambo with “wildly differing” casualty figures.

“We understand that a Government inquiry has been launched into the incident, and we urge the Government to ensure that a truly meaningful, independent, thorough investigation is conducted with a view to ensuring accountability,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville told reporters at the regular UN press briefing in Geneva.

According to the Government, Mr. Colville said, nine police officers and 13 civilians were killed in a confrontation when police attempted to arrest the leader of a religious sect called “Luz du Mundo” (Light of the World).

“But other accounts of the incident claim that hundreds of followers of the sect were killed,” he said. “There are even accounts suggesting the number may exceed 1,000.”

Mr. Colville went on to say that “recent editorials and reports in [Angolan] state media condemning the sect have been very worryingly virulent.”

“We understand that some members of the sect and their families may have gone into hiding out of fear of further violence,” he said.

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