The Angolan authorities have expelled more than 500,000 illegal immigrants, closed 96 illegal diamond cooperatives, four mining projects, and 289 diamond buying houses, said Minister of State Pedro Sebastiao at a press conference in Luanda, the capital.
At least 35,000 carats of diamonds were seized during the so-called “Transparency” operation, launched in September 2018 to combat mining and illegal immigration in the country. Nearly 100 illegal diamond cooperatives and almost 300 stores have been closed. According to the Angolan government, this measure aims to regulate the country’s important mining industry.
Angola justifies this operation by the need to restructure the vital diamond sector, where many foreigners illegally operate, according to Luanda.
In a report published in November, the NGO Human Rights Watch had suspected the authorities of “ill-treatment” in the context of this operation, which Luanda has always denied. The “Transparency” operation was extended in March to the coast to combat illegal fishing, fuel smuggling, and drug trafficking.
A total of 356 fishing boats seized.
Angola, the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the world’s leading producers of diamonds, was hit by the drop in crude oil prices in 2014, which provides 70% of government revenue.