Hidden History – Liberation Struggles Assassination (Introduction)

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By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (March 6th 2022)

Assassination

The end of World War II marked a sea-change in the struggles for independence. Colonial powers turned largely European conflicts into world wars, but there was a price to pay as the colonies demanded independence in return for their contributions. As independence approached so did political assassinations of anti-colonial liberation struggle icons. The trend continued even after independence was secured too.

Some of these crimes plunged their countries and regions into chaos like Burma’s General Aung San in 1947 and Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands’ Pan-Africanist leader Amílcar Cabral in 1973.

Disregard of International Law

Political assassinations were not limited to independence activists such as Cabral. They happened in the colonial power too. Portugal lost its African colonies after the Carnation Revolution in 1974 signalled a radical change in policy. However in the previous decade three serious assassinations, a kidnap attempt and a massacre at nearby villages in Mozambique demonstrated the policies of the Portuguese dictatorships of António de Oliveira Salazar and Marcello José das Neves Alves Caetano towards opposition at home and abroad. Both Salazar and Caetano showed total disregard for international law.

The assassination of former General Humberto da Silva Delgado and his secretary Arajaryr Moreiro de Campos in Spain in 1965 showed that and Operation Green Sea was no aberration. It attempted to seize Guinean president Ahmed Sékou Touré, Kwame Nkrumah and Amílcar Cabral. That mission in November 1970 by Francophone dissidents, the National Liberation Front of Guinea and the Portuguese planned to free Portuguese prisoners as well as capture the revolutionary leaders. The mission failed and led to reprisals by Touré.

The massacre of several Mozambicans in the Wiriyamu Triangle in 1972, which was committed by the Portuguese forces intent on maintaining colonial control over Mozambique[1] shows the lengths that the Portuguese dictatorship was prepared to go to in order to cling on to its ill-gotten gains in Africa.


[1] For further details on this atrocity see The Portuguese Massacre of Wiriyamu in Colonial Mozambique, 1964-2013 by Mustafa Dahda.

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