Angola’s attorney general said 15 people were being held by authorities for plotting to oust President Jose Eduardo dos Santos from power in Africa’s second-largest crude producer.
Police arrested 13 youths on June 20 at a meeting in the capital, Luanda, Joao Maria de Sousa said on Thursday, according to state news agency Angop . Another person was arrested the next day trying to cross into Namibia, and an Air Force officer was detained on June 23, he said.
The group was planning collective disobedience “to overthrow the government,” de Sousa said. “These acts constitute crimes against state security, more precisely a crime of rebellion.”
Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest spender on the military and internal security, usually prevents protests by arresting organizers. Dos Santos has been in power since 1979, the second-longest tenure in Africa after Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
London-based Amnesty International and the Angolan Group to Support Political Prisoners criticized the arrests as intimidation against dissenters in statements on June 22. They also cited a court case against author Rafael Marques de Morais, and the arrest of two rights activists in the oil-rich Cabinda province, where a secessionist movement has simmered for decades.