Angola: protests over death of a doctor in police custody

Angolan Doctors’ Union marched through the city center in Lunda on Saturday following the death of Silvio Dala in police custody who was arrested for not wearing a face mask while driving on September 1.

Police is allegedly involved in the 35 year old Doctor’s untimely death after his body was sent to the morgue covered in blood with scarring to his head. However Police claims the death might have been a result of a heart attack.

Angolans were not amused with the way Police are involved in Dala’s death. Silva, a patient, expressedher frustrations with the Angolan police.

“Who do we finally have to turn to, who do we have to ask for help? Who are you that we need? Police, stop doing this. The medical community is really sad, we are really sad.” Lenia silva

Among the protesters, was doctor Rodrigo Joao who was also not amused by the death of a fellow healthcare professional who could have “served the nation for many years.” He said while denouncing the officers’ lack of “humanity,” “We need to draw attention to this mistake and correct it so that a citizen will not lose his life next time.”

Addressing hundreds of protesters, the Doctors’ Union president Adriano Manuel echoed calls for clarity around the circumstances of Dala’s death,

“We will pursue our mission,” Manuel vowed as he addressed the hundreds of protesters. “We will bring (the case) to court next week because we have concrete proof that our colleague did not die of a heart attack.”

The grief-stricken hundreds of protestors chanted songs, hanging visual displays of fake blood-stained medical garments. Lately police have killed youths in trying to enforce lockdown regulations.

Doctor Dala is believed to be the latest victim of security forces violently enforcing lockdown rules in the southwest African country and people are calling for the Interior Minister to resign as they demand that the government put police reforms in place.

Angola’s government imposed salubrious restrictions in March to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic with soldiers deployed to help police implement the new rules.

Despite calls by the Angolan government for people to religiously observe lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, many Angolans continued to frequent mass markets and water points breaching curfews and gathering bans which they do mostly out of necessity.

Liberty Pazvakawambwa

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