Reporters arrested for taking picture

LUANDA - Angolan police arrested two journalists on Sunday for taking a picture at a football stadium in the country's northern province of Cabinda where some of the games for the Africa Cup of Nations will take place next year.

Voice of America reporter Jose Manuel told Reuters he and Benoit Faucon, a reporter from Dow Jones newswires in London, were released without being given an explanation for the five-hour detention by police in Cabinda.

A police spokesman was not available for comment. "Several policemen pulled us over after Benoit took a picture of the new stadium," said Manuel. "They then took us to the station and questioned us for hours on end about our work."

The move reflects some nervousness on the part of Angolan authorities ahead of the January 10-31 tournament in stadiums in Angola's capital Luanda and in the provinces of Benguela, Huila and Cabinda, where a separatist group has waged a three-decade long war against the government.

The Angolan government says the Front for the Liberation of Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) is dead, but last month FLEC said it had kidnapped a Chinese oil worker and killed several members of Angola's armed forces.

More than half the country's oil comes from wells offshore of Cabinda, a small enclave in the north of the African country and separated from it by a strip of land belonging to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"They may have overreacted given Cabinda's political history," said Fernando Macedo, a law professor in Luanda, referring to the arrests. "But police have to be more careful in the future."