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Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 11
Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 11
Date distributed (ymd): 970801
Document reposted by APIC
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Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 11, Volume III, 17 July 1997
Increased UNITA attacks fuel fears of renewed war
Attacks by UNITA have increased dramatically in recent weeks, leading
to hundreds of people fleeing for the shelter of Government-held towns.
This is being read as a clear sign of the military leadership of UNITA'S
determination to fiercely resist the agreed process of the extension of
state administration to all parts of the country. The was expected to follow
on from the formation in April of the Government of Unity and National
Reconciliation, of which UNITA is a partner. It is estimated that UNITA
continues to occupy two-thirds of the country.
Military sources in Luanda suggest that the increase in attacks is a
sign that UNITA is regrouping. The main area of tension is along the border
with the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). In June this was
the region where the Angolan army, FAA, launched an operation to stem the
flow of armed elements entering the country following the defeat of President
Mobutu (see APM no.10, Vol III).
Sources state that the Government operation in this area is over and
that UNITA has now counter-attacked, taking back several areas retaken
by FAA. Lieutenant General Marques Correia said on 7 July that UNITA had
launched six military operations to recover lost positions. He gave as
an example that UNITA has seized the mining area of Maludi.
Ominously, General Corriea said that "UNITA forgets that if this
situation continues we will bring in reinforcements and take control of
the situation once and for all".
On 3 July the Government spokesperson on the Joint Commission, Higino
Carneiro, said that an attack had taken place on a border post 55km from
Nsange. General Adriano Mackenzie on 4 July stated on Radio Nacional de
Angola that UNITA had attacked border posts at Itanda, Cambamba and Muaquesse,
and attacked and remined roads in the area.
UN condemn UNITA for attacks and hijacks
The United Nations Observer Mission in Angola, MONUA, (the successor
to UNAVEM III) has condemned UNITA for stepping up military actions along
A team of five MONUA military observers, sent to the border to investigate
allegations of UNITA attacks, were detained for three days by UNITA personnel.
MONUA released a joint statement with the Troika of observer states (the
United States, Portugal and the Russian Federation) in which they "condemn
in the strongest terms these negative acts on the part of UNITA".
MONUA has found that UNITA has occupied border posts. The head of MONUA's
military component, General Phillip Sibanda of Zimbabwe, told the joint
commission that it was clear that an attack had taken place. A team of
military observers had travelled to the neighbouring villages of Muquenda,
Calibuitchi, Camueca and Mbanji, all of which had recently been abandoned.
Burned huts were visible in Mbanji.
The statement continued that MONUA observers had flown by helicopter
over the villages of Antonio, Luaco and Sapoco and seen signs that raids
or harassment attacks had taken place. The statement concluded that "the
joint commission condemns UNITA for acts, whose veracity has not been contested,
which are against the relevant provisions of the Lusaka Protocol".
The attack follows an incident on 7 June when a WFP plane was prevented
from leaving a UNITA area, and three UNAVEM military observers were beaten.
Attacks to clear way for returning troops
The attacks along the border are an attempt to clear a path for returning
UNITA troops, who were defeated in Zaire. A source recently returned from
Angola states that UNITA has several battalions just over the border in
DR Congo, and are desperate to get them into Lunda Norte.
As previously reported in the Angola Peace Monitor, the Lundas contain
the most productive diamond mines in Angola, and UNITA is believed to be
illegally mining over $500 million worth of diamonds every year. This accounts
for UNITA's determination to block the extension of state administration
to the province.
World Food Programme warning
The World Food Programme warned on 10 July that six thousand people
have recently fled the fighting in Lunda Norte, and that many of them now
face severe food shortages.
The refugees have fled to the small mining town of Nzaji. A study has
found that 13.8 per cent of the children sheltering in the town of Maludi
were suffering from severe malnutrition. The situation in Nzaji is said
to be less acute.
Attacks reported elsewhere
There have been many reports of attacks and military movements by UNITA
throughout the country. Estimates are that UNITA continues to have military
control over two-thirds of the country.
Amongst recent reports:
- MONUA has confirmed that on 7 July there was an attack on a dam on
the Cunge River, 6km from Camacupa in Bie province, and that a two hour
firefight took place. The dam is not a particularly important target as
its electricity production was halted in 1992 during a previous attack
by UNITA. * The official Angolan news agency, ANGOP, has reported concerns
about troop movements in Bie province, and the fear that UNITA may attack
the town of Camacupa.
- The police chief of Benguela province on 14 July said that UNITA's
leader, Jonas Savimbi, had personally travelled to the villages of Chicuma
and Ebanga in Benguela to incite the population. According to Rual Hoka,
Savimbi told his audience that UNITA would soon seize the towns of Ganda,
Cubal, Caimbambo and Chongoroi. According to Hoka, 800 young men had recently
been recruited into UNITA's army and sent to Bimbi, near Bailundo.
- It has been suggested by sources in Luanda that one objective of UNITA
is to re-capture Huambo city, with the aim of splitting the country.
- Televisao Popular de Angola reported on 8 July that UNITA has 1,200
heavily armed troops at Chicomba District in Huila Province.
- On 9 July AFP reported that 14 people were hacked to death by UNITA
fighters in an attack on the southern village of Canajoaxa.
- UNITA is also said to be preventing demining in Malanje province.
UNITA rearm and refuel
A source recently returned from Angola states that a witness has seen
200 drums of diesel being unloaded at the airstrip in Andulo. It is understood
that after Lunda Norte's Luzamba, Bie's town of Andulo is a major priority
for Jonas Savimbi.
UNITA has started to plant mines, which flies in the face of demining
efforts. In Angola mines kill and maim thousands of civilians, and hinder
agricultural production and the free movement of people and goods.
A MONUA spokesperson, David Hamshurt, stated that UNITA troops had replanted
landmines on roads which had been cleared and reopened by the United Nations.
Lieutenant-General Marques Correia said that UNITA was mining the road
to the provincial capital of Lunda Norte. Major Joao Carlos Carvalho on
4 July accused UNITA of planting mines along the Cacula-Quilengues road,
Cacula-Caluquembe-Caconda road and the Matala-Jamba road.
Meanwhile, the Angolan Minister for External Relations, Vanancio de
Moura, said on 16 June that Angola would sign the Ottawa convention banning
the manufacture, distribution, use and storage of anti-personnel mines.
Savimbi holds court to VIPs
On 7 July, UN Special Representative Alioune Blondin Beye visited Andulo
to discuss the present crisis with Jonas Savimbi.
It is understood that Blondin Beye needs to complete a report to the
UN Secretary General by the end of July, and that he is still trying to
get Jonas Savimbi to retreat from his present path.
Sources in Luanda say that Savimbi is also due to receive a special
emissary from the US administration. The emissary is said to be carrying
a plea for Savimbi to step back from war, with the message that he if he
does not, he will get no further support from the administration.
Angolan army integrates ex-UNITA elements
On 10 July the Angolan army completed the integration of former UNITA
fighters into its ranks.
Under the Lusaka Protocol and subsequent agreements, UNITA was to provide
26,000 soldiers for the united army. However, this number was renegotiated
down to 18,000. In the end only just over 11,000 volunteers joined FAA.
The majority of the fit soldiers in the UNITA demobilisation camps have
deserted--numbering over 15,000--many rejoining UNITA's military machine.
Most of those left were either very young, disabled, or forcibly recruited
by UNITA to make up the numbers. Out of the 11,000 that did volunteer to
join FAA, 350 have become officers, 750 NCO's and 10,000 privates.
An observer of the ceremony to complete FAA reported that UNITA's General
Ben Ben gave a speech, the content of which was interpreted as being a
sign of loyalty to FAA.
Signs of splits in UNITA
There are growing signs that UNITA may yet split between moderates who
have taken up positions in the state, and militants who remain with UNITA
leader Jonas Savimbi.
According to the UN Development Programme's resident representative
in Angola, Bernard Ntegeye: "it is incredible to see the great symbiosis
between the two groups [UNITA and MPLA]; it is quite clear that they all
see the same objective, namely, to have the government functioning".
Ntegeye told correspondents at a press conference in New York at the
end of June that UNITA members within the Government were very active.
Some people had suggested that their entry had injected more elements of
transparency into the government; their presence was a very welcome one,
and he was personally very optimistic.
However, on 4 July a captured UNITA lieutenant, Paulo Tumo, told a press
conference that UNITA military chiefs are executing all UNITA elements
committed to the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. It is impossible
at present to verify this claim. However, this would repeat a pattern where
at key points of military tension, Jonas Savimbi has led a purge of very
senior colleagues, who have either fled to Government held areas or been
UN talk tough on UNITA troops
The United Nations has made a significant change from its approach of
turning a blind eye to UNITA's military capacity, and put the burden of
the blame for the present crisis on the rebel organisation.
Whereas previous Security Council resolutions have called on both sides
to abide by the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol, the agreement underpinning
the peace process, the latest resolution on 30 June (S/RES/1118 - 1997)
uses the phrase "calls upon the Government of Angola and in particular
UNITA to ...", placing the emphasis on UNITA. The resolution also
makes clear that UNITA has a military force at large in the country, contrary
to UNITA's declaration in December 1996 that it had quartered all its forces.
The Security Council "demands that UNITA provide to the Joint Commission
without delay complete information regarding all armed personnel under
its control, including the security detachment of the leader of the Largest
Opposition Party, the so-called 'mining police', armed UNITA personnel
returning from outside the national boundaries, and any other armed UNITA
personnel not previously reported to the United Nations, in order for them
to be verified, disarmed and demobilised in accordance with the Lusaka
Protocol and agreements between the parties in the context of the Joint
One crucial aspect of the Security Council resolution was that it requested
"the Secretary General to report on the situation by 15 August 1997".
The Security Council is to review the situation at the end of August. Diplomatic
sources in Luanda suggest that unless there is an unexpected volte-face
by Savimbi, the next step to be taken could be the imposition of further
sanctions against UNITA.
Some commentators suggest that the Angolan army, FAA, is waiting until
after this report is compiled, perhaps as early as the end of July, before
launching an operation against UNITA in Lunda Norte.
Speaking on 27 June, prior to the Security Council meeting, the Secretary
General's Special Representative to Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, said
that an investigation by UNAVEM showed that "UNITA forces it saw were
different from what was proclaimed in a UNITA statement last December".
Mungo possibly new headquarters
Sources in Angola state that Jonas Savimbi has ordered a residence to
be built in Mungo, 12km north of Huambo.
Constant movements of UNITA soldiers are reported in the area, and it
has been claimed that the local population is being trained to oppose the
restoration of state administration in the area.
State administration spreads slowly
Government administration was reinstated in Sumba and Quelo in Zaire
province in northern Angola on 30 June. By this date the Government had
only taken over 12 of the 145 places scheduled for transfer.
UNITA troops in Republic of Congo
The Angolan Ambassador to the United Nations, Afonso Van-Dunem "Mbinda"
speaking before the UN Security Council in New York on 30 June alleged
that UNITA has 2,000 troops at Point Noire in the Republic of Congo.
The demobilisation of UNITA troops continues, despite evidence that
many of them are returning to their military units.
The International Organisation for Migration announced on 7 July that
it had provided return and resettlement assistance to 19,238 demobilised
soldiers, mainly from UNITA.
It reports that the pace of demobilisation has increased, with an average
of 1,000 a day being demobilised during June. However, it warns that over
$10 million was required to complete the process.
However, there is a growing awareness that demobilised soldiers are
rejoining UNITA's military force and taking part in fighting. A UN Military
Commander, Colonel Subrata Saha, said on 12 July that 96% of UNITA ex-soldiers
in Uige province are now in areas under UNITA control.
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. Back issues of the
Angola Peace Monitor are available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.anc.org.za/angola
ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA,
fax +44 171 837 3001, telephone +44 171 833 3133.
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 individuals.