Priest held in Cabinda

CABINDA - Angolan police have arrested a priest in Cabinda, a lawyer and human rights activist said, adding that authorities were using an attack on the Togo soccer team last week as an excuse to round up critics.

CABINDA - Angolan police have arrested a priest in Cabinda, a lawyer and human rights activist said, adding that authorities were using an attack on the Togo soccer team last week as an excuse to round up critics.

Raul Tati, a government critic and a vocal human rights activist in Cabinda, was arrested in his house on Saturday, said Martinho Nombo, a lawyer in Cabinda who said he feared he was next in line to be arrested.

Police also arrested a university professor, Tati Belchior, and former police officer Pedro Fuca this week.

An Angolan police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

"Before his arrest, the priest told me there was a list of five people in Cabinda, including him and myself, who would be arrested soon," Nombo said.

Human Rights Watch researcher Lisa Rimli said, in an e-mail seen by Reuters, that her organisation had received "concrete indications that the detentions of members of the civil society were being carried out".

It says it has documented a disturbing pattern of human rights violations by the Angolan armed forces and state intelligence officials in Cabinda.

Tensions were running high on the streets of Cabinda where police have stepped up security during the games for the African Nations Cup soccer tournament. Last week's Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) attack killed two people in Togo's bus en route for the Cup.

Alexis Betaia, 27, who works at a downtown Cabinda market, said the government had asked people to denounce those they thought could be involved with the separatists who attacked the Togolese team.

Officially, only two FLEC insurgents have been arrested in connection to the January 8 attack, according to Cabindan prosecutor Antonio Nito.

"The only two arrests related to FLEC were made immediately after the attack," Nito said.

The FLEC has fought a 30-year war against Angola. - Reuters

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