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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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: Peace Monitor, III, 4
Any links to other sites in this file from 1996 are not clickable,
given the difficulty in maintaining up-to-date links in old files.
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Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 4
Date Distributed (ymd): 961219
Document reposted by APIC

Published by ACTSA  on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no.4 Vol III, 16 December 1996


The United Nations Security Council meeting on 11 December
confirmed the planned withdrawal of its peacekeeping force
from Angola, despite the continued threat to peace from
UNITA's substantial clandestine army.

The Security Council decided that the peacekeeping force in
Angola, UNAVEM III, should begin closing down its operation in
February 1997. Threats of sanctions against UNITA (see APM
no.2 vol III) were dropped, despite the acknowledgement that
UNITA have not handed over all their arms, and that over
15,000 troops have deserted from UNITA's quartering areas
(possibly to join UNITA forces left unregistered).

One reliable source, associated with the UN, reported last
week that he had observed "mountains of equipment and fuel
coming into a UNITA base east of Malanje. DC-6 planes were
landing and leaving as if it was an airlift".

A military intelligence assessment suggests that UNITA
maintains 26,000 fully equipped troops under arms, including
its special forces. They are said to have recently received
substantial amounts of new French-made war materiel.

Also, the Portuguese newspaper O Independente stated on 29
November that UNITA's special forces are located mainly in the
Lundas and Dembos regions, under the command of UNITA vice-
president General Antonio Dembo.

Some observers now compare the situation to the run-up to the
elections in 1992, when UNITA maintained its military
capacity. There is a growing fear that, in the absence of
decisive new international action, when the Government
attempts to take administrative control of the whole country,
as envisaged under the Lusaka Protocol, military clashes could
lead to full scale war.


Following UNITA's official declaration of its full
demobilisation, its remaining military forces have lost the
protection hitherto given under the Lusaka Protocol.

On 11 December, just prior to the United Nations Security
Council meeting on Angola, the rebel movement UNITA declared
that it had quartered all of its troops and handed over all
its weapons to the UN.

This late declaration was criticised at the Security Council
by Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN, Machivenyika Mapuranga,
who said that it was "a typical example of the refusal of
UNITA to make a positive move until heavy pressure was
exercised". The diplomat also stressed that "statistics on
cantonment, demobilisation and reintegration could not alone
impress either the people of Angola or the international

The UN ambassador from Mauritius, Taye Wah Michel Wan Chat
Kwong, argued that the Council should still consider measures
against UNITA, stating that "while UNITA had made some
positive gestures, one should question whether those efforts
were genuine. The past did not seem to vindicate UNITA's

The declaration by UNITA was made under intense pressure, with
a threat of further sanctions against the organisation hanging
over it. UNITA vice-president Antonio Dembo, stated to UNITA's
Radio Vorgan on 30 November that UNITA "would only do so for
the sake of peace" adding that "it gives the Government a
legal basis to act against alleged UNITA military targets".


The UNITA declaration formally represents an end to one
element of the Lusaka Protocol. The next stages of the Lusaka
Protocol include the extension of State administration
throughout the country, and freedom of movement.

Much of the country has been under the control of UNITA since
it returned to war in 1992, after rejecting the results of the
UN-monitored elections. Now UNITA is due to hand control back
to the Government, and this is leading to military tensions.

The Security Council meeting on 11 December adopted resolution
6301 which, inter alia, "urges the Government of Angola to
avoid offensive military operations which go beyond those
strictly necessary for the restoration and maintenance of law
and order in areas formerly occupied by UNITA".

The UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali had placed a
report dated 2 December (S/1996/1000) before the Security
Council, in which he noted that the number of cease-fire
violations, which had increased in early November, had since
decreased. Among the contributory factors was "the withdrawal
of Government forces from several locations in Huila,
Benguela, Bie and Lunda Sul provinces which they had taken
over during the last two months".

The issue of UNITA control over areas is vital for two
reasons. Firstly, during the election in 1992 UNITA maintained
control over a large area of the country, and had a physical
control over the population in those areas. Many observers
suggest that without that control UNITA would break up as an

Secondly, UNITA has made a vast fortune out of the sale of
illegal diamonds. UNITA has used its occupation of much of the
diamond regions of the country to extract a fortune for its
war chest. Diamond specialists estimate that UNITA has
smuggled a minimum of $2.1 billion worth of diamonds between
1993 and the end of 1996.

When the Government regains control of the diamond areas, in
particular the Lundas provinces, there should be an end to
illegal diamond mining. It is believed that UNITA is in
negotiations with the state diamond mining organisation,
Endiama, over diamond concessions. However, this would be on
a smaller scale, and subject to national taxation.


The international community has de facto accepted UNITA's
declaration that it has quartered all its troops and handed
over its arsenal. This is despite evidence that UNITA has
stockpiles of weaponry and continues to import more.

In his report to the UN Security Council on 19 November
(S/1996/96) Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali stated that "at the
beginning of October, the UNAVEM Force Commander [General
Sibanda] submitted to the Joint Commission a comprehensive
evaluation report, in which, while commending the effort made
by UNITA, he recommends that it hand over to the United
Nations additional and substantial quantities of various
weapons. The main conclusion drawn in his report was that
UNITA had not fully implemented the provisions of the Lusaka
Protocol in this crucial area. Although UNITA challenged the
report's basic assumption, stating, in particular, that large
quantities of its military equipment had been lost during the
hostilities between September and November 1994, the Joint
Commission approved its main recommendations. UNITA is
therefore expected to make additional efforts to surrender
more weapons and ammunition."

However, reference to UNITA's need to surrender more weapons
was dropped in his report of 2 December. Between the report of
19 November and 7 December (latest available figures), UNITA
handed over to the UN a further 597 personal weapons and 403
crew-served weapons. During the same period 4,459 UNITA
personnel were registered at the quartering areas. A further
gathering of arms from UNITA was reported by the Secretary
General, who said in his December report that UNITA has now
allowed the UN to remove a stockpile of arms that the UN
discovered in Negage (see APM no.3 vol.III).

The refusal of the Security Council meeting to confront UNITA
over its continued military capacity, and to take action
against the organisation, is a clear sign that the UN wishes
to concentrate on dealing with the political aspects of the
Lusaka Protocol.

In a move which accepts that UNITA has been importing arms and
oil, the Security Council has reaffirmed the mandatory
sanctions placed on UNITA in 1993, and expressed "deep concern
that the failure by States, especially those neighbouring
Angola, to do so is inconsistent with the peace process and
undermines economic recovery"


The Security Council on 11 December decided to extend the
mandate of UNAVEM III until 28 February 1997, and has approved
the Secretary General's recommendation that after withdrawing
four military support and infantry units (see APM no.3
vol.III), the next withdrawal should be in February 1997, with
a view to a full drawdown within six or seven months. This
will entail the repatriation of four of the six UNAVEM III
infantry battalions and additional support units and some
military headquarters personnel by mid-June 1997. The
remainder should be removed by the end of July or August.

However, the withdrawal is to be "commensurate with progress
achieved in the quartering areas, in demobilisation and in the
extension of state administration".

The Secretary General recommends that "a rapid reaction force
should be retained, comprising six company-sized infantry
groups, one of which would be deployed in each of the
operational regions of Angola until completion of the
withdrawal of all military contingents, unless the political
and security conditions permit a more expeditious drawdown".


The demobilisation of over 100,000 troops from both the
Angolan army and UNITA has been greatly delayed because of
UNITA's efforts to place its demobilised troops back into
secret military structures.

According to answers to questions raised in the British
parliament by Robert Hughes MP, UNITA had registered 69,821
troops by the 7 December [UNAVEM admitted on 14 December that
desertions had reached 15,372 with a further 3,233 "absent"].
The answers also show that UNITA had handed over 30,180
personal weapons and 4,857 crew-served weapons, representing
one weapon for every two registered "soldiers".

So far only 629 UNITA troops (mainly under-age soldiers) have
been demobilised. The UN Secretary General, Dr Boutros
Boutros-Ghali stated in his report of 2 December that those
soldiers had "received the necessary discharge documents as
well as the demobilisation benefits provided by the Government
and the international community. However, serious difficulties
arose as a result of repeated violations by UNITA officials of
the soldiers' right to choose freely where they would be

This referred to incidents where UNITA officers were forcing
demobilised soldiers off the buses intended to take them home,
to reintegrate them into secret units.


The pace of selecting UNITA soldiers into the Angolan army,
FAA, has increased rapidly as a result of the Government
lifting strict age and education requirements for selection.

The Secretary General reported on 2 December that 18,738 of
the expected 26,300 UNITA troops had been selected for
incorporation into FAA.

Radio Vorgan on 5 December claimed that "12,000 UNITA soldiers
were rejected by the Government's selecting teams in the 15
assembly areas simply because they were slightly older than

In a further development, on 11 December Angola's President,
Jose Eduardo dos Santos, had ordered the appointment into FAA
and the Ministry of Defence of the nine UNITA generals sent to
Luanda. They are expected to be sworn in before the end of the


Reports are circulating that UNITA may be considering
intervening in the crisis in Zaire to shore up its
international support.

Recent fighting in Zaire has left much of the country under
the control of rebels opposed to President Mobutu Sese Seko.
President Mobutu is recuperating in France following treatment
in Switzerland for cancer, and the large and relatively easy
territorial gains by the armed factions has led to political
chaos in the Zairian capital, Kinshasa.

UNITA has for many years relied on Zairian diplomatic and
logistical support, and the threat of losing this "rear base"
has led to allegations of offers of UNITA support for the
Zairian regime.

The independent Angolan newspaper, Folha 8, said on 6 December
that UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi has offered to the Zairian
regime to send elite troops to fight on the side of President
Mobutu. These elite troops are said to be under the control of
UNITA vice-president Antonio Dembo.

Folha 8 raised doubts over the veracity of the allegations,
first published in the Portuguese paper O Independente. Folha
8 sources the rumour as emanating from UNITA, suggesting that
this may be a UNITA smokescreen.

However, the alleged offer of UNITA troops to fight in Zaire
is also a reflection of the growing isolation of UNITA

French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette visited Angola on 29
November, and indicated a shift in French foreign policy on
UNITA. In a very significant sign, Jonas Savimbi has been
refused an entry visa to visit France.

Previously, UNITA had received French political support as
part of the European country's strategy of influence in the
region. However, the Angolan Government now has increasing
support from the United States, Britain and Portugal. There
are now very large commercial opportunities in Angola which
France wishes to have access to.

In particular, France has an interest in developing a recently
discovered off shore oil reserve at Bloc 17. Specialists say
that this could be the largest reserve in the southern
hemisphere with a possible output of three million barrels a

Following the visit to Angola by the French Foreign Minister,
Radio France Internationale reported that "France has been
given permission by Angola to develop a new oilfield". The
French companies Elf Acquitaine and Total are competing with
the US companies Exxon, Chevron and Texaco, and Britain's BP.

It is possible that the rumours of UNITA involvement in Zaire
were based on an attempt to gain sympathy from the French, who
have been strong supporters of President Mobutu. However, the
French Government's clear intention to strengthen bilateral
ties with Angola may be a sign of a wider re-evaluation of
France's regional policy.

The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA -
Action for Southern Africa, the successor organisation to the
British Anti-Apartheid Movement. It is produced as our
contribution towards the work of the Angola Emergency
Campaign, which seeks to highlight the need for international
action in support of peace and democracy in Angola.

A subscription to Volume III of the Angola Peace Monitor is
available at a cost of 10 pounds sterling in Britain and 15
pounds sterling elsewhere. Please indicate whether you wish to
receive the Angola Peace Monitor by post or e-mail.

Payment should be made in pounds sterling. If you wish to pay
in any other currency, you must add the equivalent of 6 pounds
sterling to cover our bank charges.

ACTSA,  28 Penton Street,  London N1 9SA, UK; e-mail:; fax + 44 171 837 3001;  telephone +
44 171 833 3133. Back issues of the Angola Peace Monitor are
to be found on the World Wide Web at

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational
affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa. APIC's primary
objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States
around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by
concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant
information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and


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