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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
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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 http://www.africaaction.org
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
http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org and http://www.msf.org]
The Peace Monitor is preceded by a brief note on other recent
resources on Angola.
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 Amazon.com.
"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." -
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 http://www.actsa.org/apm]
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
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.
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
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
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
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
More supplies have been arriving, and even the small nation of Cape
Verde has sent a quantity of medicines for the soldiers in the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.