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Angola warns against illegal immigration

Luanda – Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Wednesday that border security should be stepped up to prevent illegal migrants from destabilising the country.

“We must be mindful about protecting our borders to prevent the entry of foreigners, because the country has become the target of illegal and organised entries that could destabilise it,” said Dos Santos at the swearing-in ceremony of a new interior minister.

General Roberto Real Monteiro replaced Osvaldo Van Dunem who died on February 4 from illness.

The president, who in late February sacked his intelligence chief General Fernando Garcia Mala, underscored the urgency of reforming the security services.

“We must advance modernisation, a process that has already started. The first step must be improving key services such as interior security and order,” he said.

Dos Santos, who has been in power in oil-rich Angola since 1979, said the new interior minister must impose “discipline and coherence” in the national security services.

“All problems of indiscipline must be resolved. Luckily, there are not many of these problems,” said the president, who this month ordered an enquiry into the intelligence services.

Angola has seen an increase in the influx of foreigners and illegal migrants since the end of the 27-year war in 2002, although there are no official statistics on the entries.

Immigration authorities have carried out since 2002 several operations targeting illegal migrants who were deported to west Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than 300 000 foreigners were expelled from Angola in 2004, mostly to the DRC, as part of what the police described as a crackdown on diamond traffickers, but which was criticised by United Nations agencies and human rights groups.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest oil producer after Nigeria, Angola is heading towards elections next year, the first to be held since polls in 1992 that were disrupted by renewed fighting. – Sapa-AFP

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