The Democratic Republic of Congo has summoned the Angolan ambassador over the expulsion of thousands of Congolese migrants from Angola during a crackdown on artisanal diamond mining this month, Congo’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Congolese migrants and officials have said dozens of people were killed during an operation by Angolan security forces and an allied ethnic group this month. Angola denies this and says many Congolese migrants left voluntarily.
Congo’s ambassador to Angola has been summoned on Wednesday by Angolan authorities to be briefed on the case. The dispute comes at a time of worsening relations between the government of Congolese President Joseph Kabila and its erstwhile ally to the south.
Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende said about twenty eight thousand Congolese had been “brutally” expelled in violation of an agreement between the two countries on freedom of movement. Angolan Police Commissioner Antonio Bernardo dismissed the accusations of violence on Wednesday, and said that the border agreement only allowed for visits up to forty-eight hours.
Angola has in recent weeks stepped up efforts to tackle diamond smuggling and raise more revenue from the lucrative sector.