Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!
Print this page
This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action
from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived
document may not work.
Angola: Peace Monitor, VI, 12
Angola: Peace Monitor, VI, 12
Date distributed (ymd): 000905
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+ +economy/development+
This issue of the Angola Peace Monitor covers recent developments
in the war, efforts to reform the economy, and efforts to cope with
a revival in Angola of trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness).
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA
Issue no.12, Vol. VI 1st September 2000
The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action
for Southern Africa. ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA,
Britain. e-mail email@example.com, fax +44 20 7837 3001,
telephone +44 20 7833 3133. Back issues of the Angola Peace Monitor
are available on the World Wide Web at:
Government advances - UNITA counter
The Angolan government has continued to make territorial advances
against Jonas Savimbi's rebel-movement UNITA. However, the rebels
have also continued to attack people and property in the
government-controlled areas. UNITA are no longer in a position to
threaten to take over the country, but by making much of the
country unsafe they are succeeding in their campaign to deny
hundreds of thousands of people the right to live in their homes
and work their land.
This follows the pattern of recent months with FAA pursuing and
defeating the large concentrations of UNITA fighters, whilst UNITA
has continued to launch hit and run attacks. Whilst these attacks
by UNITA can be considered to be part and parcel of "classic
guerilla warfare", FAA is making headway in denying the rebels two
necessities for a successful guerilla campaign - safe havens and a
secure rear base from which it can get its supplies.
According to the United Nations there has been conflict in eight of
the country's 18 provinces, namely in Bie, Cuando Cubango, Huambo,
Uige, Kuito, Bengo, Huila and Lunda Sul provinces.
Reliable sources state that the Angolan army, FAA, has advanced
from Cuemba in Bie Province, which it captured in June. The army
has reported that it killed 34 UNITA soldiers in military
operations around Cuemba at the beginning of August. It is believed
that Jonas Savimbi fled from Cuemba to the south and is now moving
between south west and south east of Luena. Operations are
currently underway around Mungo in Huambo province and Mussende in
Bie province, where large amounts of ammunition have been captured
However, it is evident from reports from humanitarian agencies that
there is still conflict in areas in the central highlands that were
captured from UNITA up to a year ago. The World Food Programme has
reported that there has been a large influx of new refugees from
Cambandua, Chicala, Gamba, Chinguar and Cuningha to the city of
Kuito. It also reports an influx of a thousand new refugees coming
into Kuito from N'harea. A report by Reuters on 22 August states
that seven people were killed and another seven kidnapped near
In the north of the country the World Food Programme states that
there has been a fresh wave of people fleeing insecurity in
Buengas, Milunga and Quimbele to the town of Sanza Pombo in Uige
province. It also reports that 200 new refugees have reached
Saurimo in Lunda Sul province from Muambulo.
In Huambo province, the UN reports that a thousand people have fled
the town of Longonjo during the past two months. There has also
been a large movement of people in Moxico province, with around
2,000 people moving to safer, government controlled areas.
De Beers announced on 18 August that it has suspended diamond
exploration at its site in Cambulo in Lunda Norte province due to
insecurity. The announcement follows an attack by 60 UNITA soldiers
on an unrelated diamond mine near Camafuca in Lunda Norte on 7
August. During the raid UNITA kidnapped seven and killed a South
African security consultant. A nearby mine in Casamba was also
There has also been fighting in the Cazombo salient. Cazombo is one
of the last towns held by UNITA, and there is a large concentration
of UNITA soldiers in the surrounding areas. On 28 August a UNHCR
spokesperson stated that 565 refugees had recently arrived in
Zambia from Cazombo.
In a further sign that there are clashes in the Cazombo salient,
Zambia complained on 29 August that two bombs had exploded in the
border town of Jimbe, and that many others had exploded on the
Angolan side of the border. Angola's Foreign Ministry spokesperson
Joao Pedro, told the AFP news agency that Zambia should have taken
the matter to the bilateral security and defence commission before
making a public statement on the allegation.
The fighting in the Cazombo salient is part of the government's
strategy to secure the Zambian border, and in the longer term to
contain UNITA between Cazombo and the central highlands.
Whilst the government now controls over 92 percent of Angola (see
APM no.11 vol.VI), UNITA have continued to launch hit and run
attacks throughout much of the country. It has also stepped up its
use of landmines to make travel on roads dangerous.
On 7 August a gang of around 250 UNITA soldiers attacked the town
of Catete, Bengo province, which is about 65km from Luanda. During
the attack four people were killed, and food was stolen from the
Catholic mission. The gang withdrew when the Angolan army
reinforcements arrived. The army states that it killed ten UNITA
rebels in the counter-attack.
UNITA have also continued to attack civilians in northern Namibia.
On 29 August UNITA shot dead a 66 year-old man, Gabriel Nzowo. The
five rebels also stole food from the dead man's house in the
Kuvango region. It is estimated that more than fifty people have
been murdered in recent months in northern Namibia. In a recent
incident, a landmine killed a farmworker and injured 47 others in
Omega in the Caprivi region.
The continued violence by UNITA has put even greater strain on
humanitarian relief efforts. As the rainy season approaches, WFP
warns that the food pipeline remains weak with contributions
amounting to only half of the total requirements. The UN
organisation has begun to place food in regional centres in
preparation for the rain. Storage facilities in Kuito city have
been increased so that stocks can be built up, as heavy rain
results in the closure of the airport. A similar move is underway
at Luena in Moxico province.
The European Union has announced that it is to grant $8 million to
assist with the rehabilitation programme in Huambo province. The
road between Huambo, Caala, Ekunha, Longonjo, Ukuma and
Tchindjendje is to be repaired, and there will be assistance for
health, education, administration, and agriculture.
SADC ministers target UNITA
The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) home affairs
ministers on 4 August in Malawi met with police chiefs from the
region and discussed, inter alia, violations of mandatory United
Nations sanctions against UNITA.
After the meeting it was announced that the heads of police in the
SADC region will soon meet in Angola to discuss ways of tightening
the implementation of sanctions.
UN appoint head of UNOA
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, announced
on 31 July that he has appointed Mussagy Jeichande as his
Representative and Head of the UN Office in Angola (UNOA). UNOA was
formally established in October 1999, but it has taken until now to
appoint a head.
Mussagy Jeichande is a Mozambican who was the country's first
ambassador to South Africa. He is a qualified lawyer who worked at
Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to his appointment to the senior
Angolan economic growth fails to relieve poverty
The International Monetary Fund has revealed that the Angolan
economy has been growing at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent
over the last five years. However, the growth has been mainly in
the petroleum industry, bypassing the majority of the population.
In an interview with the Pan African News Agency, Jose Pedro de
Morais from the Fund stated that the state of the economy was
largely determined by the war. The economy shrank by 25 percent in
1993 when UNITA relaunched the war, and it did not recover to its
pre-war level until 1996.
An IMF report obtained by Reuters warned that because of Angola's
debt profile and its dependence on oil and diamonds, along with the
damage inflicted by the war, reform "will need to be sustained over
the longer term and eventually supported by concessional resources
and debt relief from external creditors".
The report warns that over the past decade per capita income, in
terms of US dollars, has more than halved, and that there have been
three bouts of hyper-inflation.
On the positive side, the report points out that Angola has
received a higher than expected price for its crude oil, averaging
$26.40 a barrel this year compared with $20.70 assumed in the
reform programme agreed between the Angolan government and the IMF.
Typically, the IMF assumes that any unexpected revenue from oil
would go to increase bank deposits or foreign reserves, rather than
to increase social spending.
Angola's economy looks set to receive a further boost soon with the
allocation of a 50 percent share in Block 34 and the right to
operate in Block 16. The IMF expects the winners of the bidding war
to pay the Angolan government around $150 million in signature
bonuses, although others expect the signature bonuses to reach a
staggering $300 million.
However, the non-oil sectors of the Angolan economy are in a
terrible state. The war has stopped much of the country's
agriculture, and the almost complete breakdown in the market has
made the economy seize up. Many commentators have also questioned
whether the revenue from oil is being used properly by the state,
and part of the work of the IMF in Angola will be to oversee the
regularisation of accountancy practice in the state budget
(although it now looks as if the World Bank will have overall
responsibility for the audit).
The state of the economy is also causing concern in the Angolan
government, who have set up an interministerial commission to
produce a document on poverty reduction. The commission is to be
coordinated by the Vice-Minister of Planning, Eduardo Severim de
In a related move, the influential non-governmental organisation,
the Eduardo dos Santos Foundation, FESA, held a conference from 22
- 26 August in Luanda to discuss the setting up of a plan similar
to the Marshall Plan for western Europe following the Second World
War. Amongst the presentations at the FESA conference on the
subject was by John Flynn - former British Ambassador to Angola and
a member of the advisory board of the British-Angola Forum - and
Hans Abrahamssom and Anders Nilsson from Gothenburg University.
The Angolan government has agreed with the IMF that it must reach
certain economic targets by the end of the year before a full staff
monitored programme can be put in place. By the end of the year its
inflation must be reduced to 120 percent, down from the current
rate of over 400 percent. There must also be a tightening of
monetary policy. There has also been an agreement to allow the
World Bank to oversee the auditing of the oil account by a major
international accountancy firm.
These benchmarks are viewed as ambitious by many international
commentators, with a number of donor governments strongly
emphasising meeting them as a key test of the government's stated
commitment to reform over the period.
In return for Angola to following the IMF's preferred policies,
there will be the opportunity to restructure the country's debts
towards cheaper, longer-term loans. There will also be access to
"soft loans" from institutions such as the World Bank.
British Airways moves delayed
Hopes that British Airways could begin flying into Luanda as early
as October were proved unfounded when a planned signing of a
bilateral airflight agreement between Britain and Angola failed to
materialise following a meeting in London in August.
In July Peter Hain, Britain's Minister of State covering Africa at
the Foreign Office, visited Angola, where he signed a UK/Angola
Memorandum of Understanding on Air Services. It was hoped that this
paved the way for a full bilateral airflight agreement to be signed
in September ending the long-running discussions on the issue.
However, when British Airways subsequently met with the Angolan
national airline, TAAG, no agreement was reached.
The provisional agreement was that Britain be allocated two flight
slots per week, however the Angolan side is now returning to the
negotiating position of only discussing one flight. British Airways
has made clear that it is unable to run a profitable route with
only one flight per week.
Sources indicate that Air France's most profitable route is the
Paris/Luanda flight. Air France has been collaborating very closely
with the TAAG in technical and other areas. It is now to be seen
whether the vested interests in TAAG with close links to Air
France, who have been blamed for the delays in reaching a final
agreement with British Airways, will be overruled by more powerful
political forces in Angola.
War fosters revival of deadly disease
A new method of treating the deadly illness, trypanosomiasis, has
undergone trials in Angola which it is hoped will help fight the
disease which has hit more than one hundred thousand people.
One of the under-reported facets of the destruction caused by UNITA
and its backers during the long war has been the re-appearance of
the deadly African trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping
sickness. In its latter stages sleeping sickness has horrific
symptoms similar to severe mental illness, and is ultimately fatal.
In Angola sleeping sickness was almost entirely wiped out by the
end of the 1960s following a regime of active screening of the
population at risk, supported by tsetse trapping and spraying of
pesticides. However, the war has disrupted the fight against the
disease. Health programmes were hit both in terms of economic
resources available and because it was not safe for health staff to
travel throughout the country. In countless cases, health workers
were targeted and murdered by UNITA. Over the last decade it has
returned with a vengeance and currently more than one hundred
thousand people are infected with the disease. Without treatment
these people will die, and without a large-scale programme to hit
back at the tsetse fly, which carries the parasite, many more will
Sleeping sickness is spread by tsetse flies infected with the
protozoa. If it is not treated by the time patients have reached
the second stage of the illness - where the neurological
disturbances show themselves - treatment is very difficult and
dangerous. The form taken in Angola, trypanosoma brucei gambiense,
is a chronic disease taking several years to reach the advanced
Sufferers fear treatment
A further problem in the treatment of the illness is the worldwide
lack of appropriate drugs. The treatments available are based on
old drugs which have horrific side effects. The huge multi-national
pharmaceutical drug companies spend billions of dollars searching
for cures to common, non life-threatening, problems faced by people
in the wealthy parts of the world, but do not see a good profit in
researching and developing new, improved, drugs for poor people in
The most commonly used treatment of sleeping sickness is an
arsenic-based drug, melarsoprol. The drug was introduced in 1949,
and although it is a life-saver, is dangerous and painful when
injected. Its side effects kill five to ten percent of those
treated. In addition the drug is ineffective in up to a fifth of
The other effective drug for sleeping sickness in its latter stages
is eflornithine. The original manufacturer recently stopped
producing it, and is now being produced by ILEX-Oncology, which has
offered to produce it for the WHO at a cost of $750 per patient. A
course of melarsoprol costs about $150.
Pioneering work with melarsoprol
Despite the severe drawbacks, melarsoprol remained the most common
drug for the treatment of sleeping sickness in Angola. This has led
a group of doctors to look for ways of improving the treatment
The work has been carried out by several researchers, headed by Dr
Christian Burri, and received funding and assistance from the
Angolan National Program for Trypanosomiasis Control, World Health
Organisation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Swiss
Tropical Institute, Swiss Humanitarian Aid and Norwegian Peoples
The current Angolan schedule for treatment is a 26-day course of
melarsoprol injections. However, this is a hard burden on the
patient who suffers severe pain with each injection, and a big
burden on the patient's family, who must be present to look after
the patient and provide food.
The researchers set out a new, more intensive, schedule of ten
daily injections, which represents a thirty percent reduction in
drug requirement. The trial took place in Dondo, Kwanza Norte
province. It was concluded that the new drug regimen was a useful
alternative to the 26-day treatment schedule, especially in
epidemic situations and in locations with limited resources.
Need for screening and prevention
Work is also being done on the need to screen the at risk
population, to enable early treatment of the illness. However, it
is estimated that there is a need for 22 mobile teams in Angola -
currently there are only five.
There are also efforts to capture tsetse flies, and in Zaire
province traps are being placed. According to Mariano Gaspar,
director of health in Nzeto municipality, 100,000 tsetse flies were
captured in traps in the first six months of the year.
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC provides
accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S.
and international policies toward Africa that advance economic,
political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.