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Angola Rejects Human Rights Watch's Election Concerns


Angolan officials are rejecting charges by Human Rights Watch that the ruling party is intimidating opposition parties ahead of September's parliamentary elections.

Angolan Prime Minister Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos told state media Thursday that the vote will be "free, fair and transparent."

Government spokesman Noberto dos Santos told the state-run Lusa news agency today that Human Rights Watch should not interfere in Angola's internal affairs.

The New York-based human rights group says it has documented "numerous" incidents of political violence committed by supporters of the ruling party. The group says law enforcement agencies have failed to punish the perpetrators.

Human Rights Watch also accuses the government of blocking media freedom and people's right to assemble.

The September 5 vote will be Angola's first parliamentary elections in 16 years.

Those elections were meant to end Angola's long civil war, but the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola renewed the conflict after losing at the polls.

The 27-year war finally ended in 2002.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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