news analysis advocacy
tips on searching

Search AfricaFocus and 9 Partner Sites



Visit the AfricaFocus
Country Pages

Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central Afr. Rep.
Congo (Brazzaville)
Congo (Kinshasa)
Côte d'Ivoire
Equatorial Guinea
São Tomé
Sierra Leone
South Africa
South Sudan
Western Sahara

Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!

Print this page

Note: 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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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: Recent Documents Angola: Recent Documents
Date distributed (ymd): 020603
Document reposted by Africa Action

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+ +US policy focus+


This posting contains excerpts from the Angola Peace Monitor with an update on the current implementation of the peace process in Angola. Quartering of troops under the formal ceasefire signed on April 4 is almost complete, with 69,000 UNITA soldiers in the camps with 200,000 relatives nearby (as compared to pre-agreement estimates of 55,000 troops and 300,000 relatives). However, neither the Angolan government nor the international community have moved rapidly enough to provide adequate food and other resources; the humanitarian situation among the incoming families and in the countryside is among the worst in Africa, with malnutrition rates five to ten times above the emergency threshold, according to Medecins sans Frontieres, which has over 1,000 staff working in the country.

[See and]

The Peace Monitor is preceded by a brief note on other recent resources on Angola.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Other recent related resources:

(1) Commentary in The Nation (April 28) by William Minter, Africa Action senior research fellow: see

(2) Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976 (The University of North Carolina Press, 2002). Click the link for the book for a 30% discount at

"This 550-page book, based on newly released Cuban and U.S. documents and extensive interviews in the U.S., Angola, and Cuba, definitively confirms the facts, long known to specialists, that U.S. covert military action in Angola and the South African invasion in 1975 preceded rather than followed the arrival of Cuban troops; that the U.S. knew about and collaborated with the South African invasion, contrary to Secretary of State Kissinger's testimony to Congress; and that the Cuban decision was taken without informing the Soviet Union and without any Soviet assistance for the first two months. This book, with its elegantly argued and fully researched narrative, sets a new standard of excellence for historians of the Cold War in the Third World." - William Minter

Selected documents cited in the book are available at:

An interview with Robert W. Hultslander, former CIA Station Chief in Luanda, Angola, is available at:

Angola Peace Monitor

Issue no.9, Vol. VIII

30th May 2002

The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA - Action for Southern Africa. ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA, e-mail, fax +44 20 7837 3001, telephone +44 20 7833 3133.

[Excerpts only: for full text, see]

Rapid quartering overfills camps

Over 65,000 soldiers from the rebel movement UNITA have now entered the quartering areas set up by the Angolan government in preparation for their demobilisation and reintegration into Angolan society. The huge influx of soldiers and their families into the quartering areas began after a formal ceasefire was signed in Luanda on 4 April.

Figures for the exact number of troops in the camps have varied, but the head of UNITA's military, General Abreu Kamorteiro, on 22 May put the figures at 69,000 soldiers in the camps with 200,000 relatives nearby.

The rapid movement into the camps, with only a few soldiers still to arrive, is the most concrete sign that this time, UNITA is genuinely committed to peace. Many of the soldiers who have arrived have been close to starvation. This tends to support the Luanda-based analysis that the UNITA army had been in a state close to complete collapse and only weeks away from mass starvation when, on 22 February, its leader Jonas Savimbi was killed in battle by the Angolan army. Certainly, Jonas Savimbi's interim successor, Paulo Lukamba "Gato" and many of the other senior UNITA leaders were in very precarious health when leaving the bush.

Although there is agreement that UNITA is not in any position to relaunch the war, there are quiet grumblings from within the Angolan army, FAA, that the weapons handed in at the quartering areas have been predominantly light weapons, and that there are considerable supplies still hidden in the bush, and FAA is actively pursuing these stocks.

However, the success in getting the UNITA troops to the camps has strained the ability of the government to look after the soldiers and their families. Based on information given by the UNITA leadership, it had originally been estimated that 55,000 troops would be quartered along with up to 300,000 relatives.

Relationships improving

As the quartering process continued, there was some jockeying for position between the main actors.

The United Nations Secretary General's Special Adviser on Africa, Professor Ibrahim Gambari told reporters on 21 May that one of the problems was that the Angolan Government had underestimated the enormous challenges of providing for 55,000 UNITA soldiers and 300,000 of their family members, declaring: "we must ensure that the quartering areas do not become death camps"

Professor Gambari was pushing for a more prominent role for the United Nations, pointing out that it was only an observer and member of the Joint Military Commission, and did not have access to the camps or have any framework to agree the responsibilities of the UN regarding the provision of services to the quartering areas.

Non-governmental organisations have also complained that they have been excluded from the camps. The Angolan Forum of Non-Government Organisations (FONGA) on 22 May stated that the government was imposing obstacles to FONGA visiting the camps.

The Angolan army took it upon itself to provide food and shelter for over a quarter of a million desperately hungry people. At the beginning of quartering there were logistical problems, with a lack of tents, food, water and basic health facilities being in place.

Some NGOs privately speculated that this was a deliberate strategy of the Angolan government, while others attributed it to high level corruption.

However, General Kamorteiro, speaking to AFP on 22 May said that food and medical aid at the camps "has improved in recent days". He continued that "logistical conditions have now improved. We cannot compare the current situation to that which prevailed a few days ago".

Coordination between the Angolan government and the UN has also improved with the announcement that a UN team of specialists is due to visit Angola from 8 to 14 June to assess the camps' needs.

President calls for assistance

The President of Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has called on the international community to provide urgent assistance in the quartering process.

The President has written to the head of state of six African nations: Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, and Sao Tome and Principe. Appeals for help were also sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Spain's Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (Spain holds the current presidency of the European Union) and the president of the European Parliament, Pat Cox.

More supplies have been arriving, and even the small nation of Cape Verde has sent a quantity of medicines for the soldiers in the camps.

Larger donations have arrived in Luanda from the United States, including tents for 25,000 families, 50,000 tanks of water and blankets, and 17 tonnes of cooking utensils and soap. A third delivery, of medicines is due shortly.

The majority of the funding of the first phase of the quartering process was borne by the Angolan state, which, according to the Special Commission for Logistics, cost $22 million. The Commission stated on 23 May that $8 million was spent on local goods, with other goods being purchased in Brazil and South Africa.

During the second stage of the quartering and demobilisation process, which is now being entered into, the World Food Programme has been invited to assist with feeding the families of UNITA soldiers. According to a report on 23 May by AFP, teams from the WFP are preparing for the first assessment missions to determine exactly what the families need.

Further camps opened

Originally it had been planned that there would be 33 quartering areas. However, responding to the increased numbers of troops coming out of the bush, the government has set up a further five camps, making a total of 38.

On 23 May a new camp was opened at Capaia in Lunda Norte province. The camp already contains 1,313 soldiers, including 11 Congolese and 21 Rwandans. 2,460 family members are also situated around the camp.

The head of UNITA at the camp, Colonel Eduardo Chama, told the Angolan news agency, ANGOP, that 669 guns have already been handed in, mainly assault rifles.

Vaccination programme in camps

The children of UNITA soldiers have taken part in a UNICEF-organised vaccination programme in the family camps situated around the quartering areas of Chicala and Lucusse, in Moxico province.

From 23 to 31 May children under five are to be vaccinated against polio and measles. The children will also receive Vitamin A supplements. There will also be injections against tetanus for some women.

Second phase begins

The second phase of the demobilisation process is now underway, having met the deadline for the first phase. This is in stark contrast to the previous peace process, led by the United Nations from 1994 onwards, where deadlines were not met - predominantly due to procrastination and ill-will by Jonas Savimbi's UNITA.

The first phase of the demobilisation process was the gathering of UNITA soldiers at the designated cantonment areas and their disarming. Over 55,000 troops were quartered within the specified time of 47 days after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on 4 April.

In phase two, which is due to take place over the next month, five thousand people from UNITA's military ranks will be integrated into the Angolan army and police.

The remaining UNITA soldiers will then be demobilised and UNITA's military forces will be dissolved.

Following this, the huge task of reintegrating the remnants into society and providing them with a means to survive begins, and is due to last for six months.

One possibility floated by the Deputy Minister for Mines, Carlos Sumbula, is - ironically - that UNITA be given diamond mining concessions. Sumbula stated in an interview with the Financial Times, published on 24 May, that "our brothers from UNITA will keep their mines. We are working with them to define their concession areas".

Humanitarian crisis continues

The fate of over a million people in Angola remains in the hands of humanitarian organisations as the country begins to pick up the pieces left after the complete collapse of UNITA's military campaign. It is feared that half a million more people are close to starvation in areas formerly controlled by UNITA, unable to receive help.

On 16 May the United Nation's World Food Programme decided at a board meeting in Rome to increase the number of Angolan internally displaced people it assists to 1,160,000 - an increase of 11.5 percent over the planned number - distributing 17,000 tonnes per month. The budget for this assistance is put at $233,518,246 with the Angolan Government contributing $67.5 million of the total.

The WFP warned on 17 May that despite recent confirmation of new contributions, further donations are still urgently needed to avoid completely running out of food in September. Already, some help is being cut back so that the organisation can focus on those close to death.

The problem is compounded by the many new cases of severe hunger in areas opening to the humanitarian agencies since the formal end of the war in April.

At the beginning of May the WFP delivered 15 trucks of maize, corn soya blend, vegetable oil, salt and sugar to Bunjei, Huila Province, where 10,000 people - mostly women and children - have been barely surviving without assistance for four years.

According to ANGOP, WFP is to shortly start assisting 150,000 people in Bie, Huambo, Huila and Bengo provinces. Of this total, 50,000 people are from Quemba (Bie), with the rest being in Katchiungo (Huambo), Chipindo (Huila) and Quibaxi (Bengo).

A WFP statement on 17 May warned that stocks are reaching dangerously low levels, just when the number of hungry people is soaring. WFP's Director for Angola, Ronald Sibanda, stated that "we have no choice but to reduce rations for some groups of people to make sure we can feed others who are more desperate. It is absolutely vital that new donations are made urgently".

WFP has calculated that it needs a further $52 million to keep up its operations and cope with the increasing caseload for the next six months.

Scale of problem

The international NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has publicised the extent to which people living in previously inaccessible areas are close to starvation.

The UN news agency, IRIN, quoted the MSF director of operations Koen Henckaerts as saying that "the recent peace agreements alone cannot improve the situation. They have allowed us to get emergency teams into the area but there must now be an immediate, international response with food and medical supplies".

MSF-Belgium head of mission Erwin van de Borcht told IRIN that part of the blame must be placed on the Angolan army, FAA, which adopted a scorched earth policy, concentrating villagers into areas they controlled to deny UNITA rebels access to food and supplies.

The WFP has conducted rapid assessments in 26 newly accessible locations in 12 provinces. It found that critical levels of malnutrition exist in at least seven of the assessed locations, including Bunjei, Chilembo, Chipindo, Cuemba, Sanza Pombo and Ussoque and Vila Franca communes in Londuimbali Municipality.

People in all the locations visited urgently require health care, sanitation, clean water and non-food items. Humanitarian operations are currently underway in four of the assessed locations. In addition, plans are being developed to launch operations in five locations.

As a result of these assessments, plans of action are being drawn up along with budgets. A final report of the Rapid Assessment of Critical Needs, which will include the specific activities planned by humanitarian partners and the Angolan Government will be released at the beginning of June.

US report throws new light on problems

Despite fears that half a million people may desperately need help, calls for increased food and medical supplies are not sufficient to deal with the problem.

A report by the United States Agency for International Development published on 7 May points out that security issues are the primary constraint for humanitarian organisations attempting to access affected populations. It continues that "in addition to chronic insecurity, humanitarian relief operations are constrained by the country's devastated infrastructure. After nearly three decades of war, the majority of the nation's roadways and airstrips are impassable or insecure. While the cessation of violence has enabled increased proportions of emergency commodities to be delivered via road, approximately 40-50 % of all the humanitarian assistance efforts in Angola must still be delivered by air. The number and size of aircraft that can be accommodated in most of the nation's air strips are limited, often hampering emergency relief efforts. For example, the airstrips in Kuito and Negage are periodically closed to air traffic due to their severe state of deterioration".

On the positive side, the report states that "in recent weeks, the Government of the Republic of Angola has shown an increased commitment to humanitarian issues". It states that the government "has made an effort to include humanitarian concerns in the peace process".

The report points out that since 1990 the US has contributed almost $750 million in emergency assistance to Angolans. Last year the US donated $43 million in emergency assistance, and this will increase to $62 million in 2002.

Inter-agency appeal still under-subscribed

As Angola enters the crucial demobilisation phase there are worrying signs that the international community is suffering from "donor fatigue", a syndrome whereby large donors become cynical about their own role in humanitarian aid.

In an interview with the UN news agency, IRIN, published on 10 May, the Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Angola, Eric de Mul, warned that over Angola, there is "a kind of donor fatigue in the extreme, because this has been going on for so many years and after so many attempts and failures donors have become rather disappointed with the whole situation".

He also pointed out that "the number of donors for Angola is smaller than you see in other countries. On the one hand that may be positive because it makes it easier for donors to get together and move in a more coordinated, comprehensive fashion. On the other hand, the more donors you have the more possibilities for funds".

Eric de Mul also echoed the complaints of donors that the Angolan government should be doing more to help its own population. He said that "there have been quite a number of instances where the government has made very substantive and clear promises that have not really been met. And this time around I think the donors are really waiting for clear signals, and you can almost say proof, that the government is really going to make more of its resources available to the Angolan population".

Governmental donors have also been wary of giving aid to Angola because of allegations of massive corruption. Due to this perception, many donors are holding back from large scale aid to Angola until it reaches agreement with the International Monetary Fund over issues of transparency in financial transactions.

Donors have so far failed to meet the needs of this years United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola. As of 24 May, only $69 million - 30 percent - of the $233 million appeal had been donated.

The World Food Programme, which keeps over a million people in Angola fed, has only received 37.87 percent of the required budget of $150 million. Non governmental organisations have appealed for $34 million and have received nothing. The United Nations Development Programme has received nothing, with pledges of $227,000, a paltry 8.88 percent of requirements. UNICEF has received $5 million out of a budget of $18 million, and the World Health Organisation has received less than half a million dollars out of a needed $2,756,000.

Food aid valued at almost $55 million dollars has been given to Angola, with the United States delivering almost $38 million of the total. The European Commission has donated $13 million worth of food aid.

The United States is by far the most generous donor, giving 56.16 percent of donations to the Consolidated Appeal. The European Commission has donated 18.93 percent, with Sweden providing 8.29 percent of the total donations. In sixth place, Britain has provided 2.07 percent of the funds raised so far, with a donation of $1.4 million to OCHA for coordination and support services.

The deepening of donor fatigue comes at a very bad time, and fails to recognise that aid given by the international community has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Angolans, who would otherwise have starved or died of disease as they sought shelter from UNITA. This a tangible victory for the humanitarian agencies that have invested funds and emotional effort in the country.

The war is now over, and within a relatively short timeframe people will begin to go home to restart their lives. Every death from now on is a double tragedy, given that the possibility of a better life is just around the corner for so many.


This material is being reposted for wider distribution by Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Africa Action's information services provide 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.

URL for this file: