Angolan War for Independence: Luanda Attacks of 1961

0 Posted by - July 5, 2021 - Black History, History, LATEST POSTS

During the Baixa de Cassanje and UPA revolts in early 1961, there was another conflict that February in the 1961 Luanda Attacks.

Luanda Attacks

The Assaults in Luanda in 1961 saw Black guerrilla forces takeover several military and police buildings in a bid to release political prisoners. The other part of their plan didn’t come together as intended. Guerillas were to take over the national airport, the state broadcast station, and other government buildings.

Initially armed with machetes, the liberation forces were able to take out a police vehicle and gain firearms. The ambitious plan was routed around the police and military buildings and hopes of freeing prisoners had to wait another day.

In all, less than ten officers and soldiers were killed while the guerrillas suffered greater losses according to media reports. Because of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) claimed responsibility for the assault, the exact details are split between the media interpretation of the event and the MPLA’s.


The following state saw a funeral held for the police killed in the assault. That same day, riots of disputable origin erupted. Some believed that White citizens started the violence by targeting the musseques–mostly Black slums around Luanda. The anti-Portuguese interpretation continues with there being a massacre of several hundred Black citizens from the slums. The other interpretation was that 19 people were killed and the riot started when shots occurred near the funeral.

A second attack on the jail was attempted the following week but ultimately failed.


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