Author: ANN Staff Writer
Despite efforts by the Angolan government and the National Police to impose a complete news blackout regarding the killings of more than a thousand people associated with the Sétimo Dia à Luz do Mundo (Seventh Day the Light of the World) religious sect, reports are beginning to leak out of the areas of the Huambo, Bie, and Benguela Provinces where the bulk of the killings took place.
Survivors of the attacks and some members of the National Police who were sickened by the horrific loss of human life are now telling of what they saw and heard as police units moved in to inflict a pogrom to eradicate members of the religious sect.
While initial reports estimated the death toll from the National Police rampage on the sect at roughly 700, the body count is now estimated to be as high as 1080.
The police attacks on a number of on villages roughly 600 kilometers southeast of Luanda, included the use of helicopter gunships used to fire on villagers and homes from above.
In an interview with the Bloomberg news organizations on yesterday Member of Parliamant Adalberto Costa Junior said, “The number we have provided is an estimate based on testimony from some of those who were directly involved in the killings of that sect’s members," adding "They’re speaking discretely and it’s incredible anyone is speaking at all.”
Angolan authorities became enraged when, on April 16, as they tried to arrest Light of the World religious sect leader Jose Julino Kalupeteka, bodyguards killed three policemen and six others died as they fled the scene to call for reinforcements. Police said they killed as many of 13 of Kalupeteka's bodyguards in the clash.
Subsequently, the police reportedly went on a house-to-house raid to round-up and kill more than a thousand villigers without the benefit of arrest warrants, trial or any form of judicial proceedings.
The Bloomberg news organization reportedly contacted, Mario Jorge, a spokesman for Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos earlier this week. On Monday, Jorge said, “All issues pertaining to The Light of the World sect should be addressed to the national police. They are the ones who are dealing with this.”
Efforts to get police officials to comment on the killings have been unsuccessful and access to the region of the killings has denied to reporters and independent investigators. Local residents have said that they have seen the killings, the bodies of men, women and children being burnt, and multiple graves being dug to avoid the problem of future investigators finding all of the bodies in a single, mass grave reminiscent of the holocaust or the killing fields of Cambodia.
The international community must act now to begin an investigation that will find the truth about the killings before more die at the hands of government security forces which operate outside the bounds of the law and human decency.