The French embassy in Luanda has issued an alert to all its citizens living in Angola to avoid the Via Expresso – a motorway linking the capital city with the industrial area of Viana – following the shotgun killing of a Portuguese couple on the road and the kidnapping of a French citizen.
Coincidentally, the attacks came a week after a Portuguese former rally driver was hacked to death in his Luanda home, not far from the highway, by a gang of five.
A family member of the murdered Portuguese couple has gone so far as to suggest the deaths could all be related.
Rejecting totally the theory of Angolan police who say the Portuguese shootings could have been a “settling of business scores”, the brother of one of the victims has told reporters: “in the space of a very short time, four Chinese and another Portuguese have been barbarically killed in Cacuaco (an area off the Via Expresso), and a Frenchman has been kidnapped”.
The attacks could a plan to “start destabilisation” in Angola, he said – particularly now that it is in economic crisis.
As police investigate and the Portuguese secretary of state for the communities says the government is “accompanying the case”, the tragedy of Elvira Mil Homens and Fernando Silva has been splashed across news services.
The pair were on their way home from Luanda with their 30-year-old son when a group of masked men forced their car to a stop on the highway at 7pm on Tuesday.
The couple were just 300 metres from their condominium, when their attackers shot them at close range and made off.
The son was left unharmed, which is why Angolan police are understood to be pursuing the “settling of scores” theory.
This has not only been rejected by Fernando’s brother, but also by the couple’s daughter Irina, say reports.
But while the Portuguese government is simply accompanying the case, the French embassy has warned all compatriots living in the area to avoid using the Via Expresso unless they are carrying guns, or driving in convoy.