President Eduardo dos Santos on 20 April denounced the Sétimo Dia à Luz do Mundo (Seventh Day the Light of the World) sect as a threat to "peace and national unity" in Angola.
The Light of the World group was expelled from the Seventh Day Adventist Church and reorganised under the leadership of the 52-year-old José Kalupeteca. The sect, which has around 6,000 members in Huila, Bié, Huambo, Benguela and Kwanza Sul provinces, is against modernisation and refuses to vote, register for the census, or register its weapons. Recently, local media reported that members have been ordered to sell their goods and prepare for the end of the world.
The relationship between security forces and the Light of World turned violent, when sect members assaulted 10 unarmed policemen in the province of Bié. As a result, security forces were ordered to arrest Kalupeteca in the sect's camp near Huambo, Angola's second largest city and major logistics hub, but encountered stiff resistance from around 2,000 sect members armed with some firearms and local weapons. Nine members of the security forces were killed. The police also reported on 21 April the death of 13 sect members during the violent confrontation.
However, the main opposition party National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola: UNITA) has accused the ruling party People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola: MPLA) of having killed hundreds of sect members.
UNITA is almost certain to politicise the deaths of the sect members as a means to incite further protests against the MPLA government, which has been in power since 1975. It is very likely that members of the Light of the World are going to organise further protests against their perception of police brutality, raising the risk of further violent confrontations.
Further skirmishes pose an elevated risk of disruption to cargo movement, property damage, and collateral harm to motorists and bystanders from small-arms exchanges.
Protests are likely to spread into other localities where the group has presence including Huila, Bie, Benguela and Kwanza Sul provinces