Francisco Luemba

was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning while I was lying asleep in a large house in the New Forest, tucked up beneath two duvets and a blanket with a Border Collie sprawled over my legs. While I was dreaming about a friend of mine who had died and his children were laughing at me, Francisco Luemba was not dreaming that he was being escorted from his home in Cabinda for alleged crimes against the state. Luemba is a lawyer, a human rights activist and a writer. We met in 2008 in Cabinda and he told me of the many ways that the authorities spy on him. We talked about East Germany and I told him about The Lives of Others and how much his life made me think of that film – or, on reflection, how much that film made me think of Angola. Luemba is a very elegant man, both in his speech and his physical stature. Tall, slim, softly spoken, generous, thoughtful and brave. Later he went out of his way to ensure I received a copy of his book about Cabinda – which he insisted was a gift – which was launched in Portugal by publishers papiroeditora who have a blog here. The book is O problema de Cabinda exposto e assumido à luz da verdade e da justiça. Luemba predicted,when the Togo team were attacked, that human rights activists in Cabinda would swiftly be targeted. He was right. Since that ambush took place, the following people have been arrested: Zefarino Pauti (Chevron worker), Belchior Lanso (university professor), Padre Raul Tati (a priest who, days earlier, was basically sacked by the Bishop of Cabinda), Benjamin Fuca (a former police officer) and Francisco Luemba (lawyer). The prosecutor’s office in Cabinda has stated that the arrests are not ‘directly related’ to the Togo team events. Well well well…

What we are all waiting to see is who will be next? There are several people I can think of who I expect will be behind bars by the end of the week.

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