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Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 3
Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 3
Date Distributed (ymd): 971204
Document reposted by APIC
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign Issue
no.3, Vol. IV 27th November 1997
International community fails to close UNITA offices
An international commitment to isolate the Angolan rebel movement, UNITA,
has so far failed to be matched by concrete action. A plan to close down
UNITA's twelve offices outside Angola and to restrict the movement of senior
UNITA personnel was agreed by the United Nations at the end of October.
However, by the end of November only one member state of the United Nations
Security Council, France, had succeeded in fully closing down a UNITA office.
On 29 October the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1135. This
stated that all UNITA offices abroad are to be closed, and senior UNITA
officials should have their travel documents, visas or residence permits
cancelled. However, the member states have had problems carrying out their
obligations in this regard. In some countries, the government is struggling
to find a way to carry out its obligations. In others, domestic political
pressures are delaying action.
In the United States, the UNITA office in Washington has for the last
few months been operating under the name the Centre for Democracy in Angola
Incorporated, and is headed by an American, Malik Chaka. UNITA also has
an office in New York. While the US administration signalled its willingness
to close the two UNITA offices, it has so far failed to do so.
In Portugal, the UNITA office has recently been renamed the Centre for
Democracy in Angola, and may be run by people with Portuguese passports.
The deputy head of UNITA in Portugal, Rui Oliveira, told APS on 10 November
that UNITA had been contacted by Jose Lamego, Portugal's junior foreign
minister. He informed UNITA on 30 October that the government wanted to
shut down the delegation. However, according to Africa Analysis (14 November)
the government has since backed down due to domestic political considerations.
Africa Analysis also stated that Germany does not intend to close the UNITA
office "because it has no official status".
In Belgium, UNITA has informed the government that it has closed its
office. However, an Angolan cultural office has been opened, which is headed
by the ex-UNITA representative, who holds a diplomatic passport from the
In the United Kingdom, the British Government has stated it has taken
active steps to remove the UNITA representative Mr Kandeya from the country.
It has decided not to renew his visa, which ran out on 10 November. He
is expected to leave the country in the first week of December. However,
it has not found a mechanism for closing the UNITA office, which operates
under the cover of an import-export company, with British staff. It hopes
that the expulsion of the UNITA representative will, de facto, close the
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been keen to implement the UN
sanctions against UNITA, and has passed on relevant information to the
Home Office and the Department of Trade and Industry.
The one Security Council member which, at the time the Angola Peace
Monitor went to press, had managed to implement the sanctions that it voted
for is France. It was announced on 25 November that the French Government
had ordered the closure of the UNITA office. According to foreign ministry
spokesperson, Yves Doutriaux, the office, which operated under the title,
Demain l'Angola, has now "ended its political activities in France".
The member states are to report to the Sanctions Committee of the UN
before the 1 December on progress towards implementing sanctions, and to
the Security Council by 15 December.
The UN Secretary General is to report to the Security Council by 8 December
on progress made by UNITA in complying with the Lusaka Protocol.
The Security Council also stated in its resolution "its readiness
to consider the imposition of additional measures, such as trade and financial
restrictions, if UNITA does not fully comply with its obligations under
the Lusaka Protocol and all relevant Security Council resolutions".
This batch of sanctions would probably include the freezing of UNITA's
bank accounts. However, observers point out that neither the present mandatory
sanctions on UNITA buying armaments and oil (in place since September 1993),
nor the attempts to close UNITA's offices, have proved to be effective,
except for stressing the international isolation of UNITA.
Peace process halted
The Angolan peace process has effectively stalled following UNITA's
failure to comply with the Lusaka Protocol, the agreement underpinning
the process. Sources in Angola describe an "alarming calm" in
the country, with no substantial hand-over of UNITA-controlled areas to
the government, and no further hand-over of UNITA weapons to the United
The Lusaka Protocol, signed on 20 November 1994, sets out the duties
of the Angolan government and the rebel-movement, UNITA. However, UNITA
have failed to demobilise their army and hand over their weapons. This
has led the United Nations to impose further international sanctions against
the rebels (see APM no.2 vol. IV).
According to reliable sources, the six thousand UNITA troops which in
October had turned up at UN camps for registration and demobilisation,
demanded their weapons back and left the camps following the imposition
of UN sanctions on UNITA at the end of October.
They have now rejoined their comrades-in-arms, making up a military
force estimated to be between 15,000 and 35,000 strong.
UNITA ministers loyal to government
Despite the present stalling of the peace process, there are encouraging
signs that a section of the UNITA leadership are committed to peace.
There is growing admiration for UNITA's four ministers and seven deputy
ministers appointed to the Government of Unity and National Reconstruction
(GURN) by President dos Santos, in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol.
Diplomatic sources have expressed surprise and delight at the hard work
and seriousness of the UNITA appointees. However, this appreciation of
their work is not shared by all. The UNITA mouthpiece in the United States,
the Centre for Democracy in Angola Incorporated, on 23 October described
their role as being "purely ceremonial".
There is a growing gulf between those UNITA representatives who have
moved to Luanda to participate in the GURN and the National Assembly, and
those who have remained with Jonas Savimbi. At present, Jonas Savimbi is
keeping both the military and political option open. However, one UNITA
minister has privately conceded that if there was a return to war, he would
remain with the government.
A further sign of the division was shown when the Political Commission
of UNITA met in Andulo in early November. According to the Washington Post
on 11 November, members of the Political Commission who are in Luanda did
not attend. The article quotes the minister for commerce and tourism, Jorge
Valentim, as saying that, "I cannot put the party above the government".
According to an APM source, one senior Luanda-based UNITA member stated,
off-the-record, that his life would be in danger if he went to Andulo.
A diplomat, quoted by the Washington Post, stated that the decision
by the Luandan members of the Political Commission not to attend "was
the first time they made it clear they weren't going to follow Bailundo.
I think it was a quiet rebellion".
Military tensions on rise
There has been mounting military tension around the country, with allegations
on both sides of aggressive military actions. David Wimhurst, the spokesperson
for the UN Observer Mission in Angola, MONUA, warned that cease-fire violations
in October had risen to 30.
According to a report by Associated Press on 5 November, the UN suspects
UNITA involvement in three ambushes during October, and new anti-tank minefields
have been laid in Malanje province.
The Angolan army has made fresh allegations that UNITA is preparing
to relaunch military conflict. UNITA have counter-charged that the government
has been preparing for a military assault in the north of the country.
The commander of the Angolan army's southern front, General Francisco
Furtado, stated on 13 November that UNITA had moved hidden long-range artillery
and other weapons to new command posts. He also asserted that it was building
up military bases in the regions on Benguela and Huila in the South, Bie
and Huambo in the centre and Cuando-Cubango in the south west. This was
in part confirmed by the UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit (UCAH)
who warned on 7 November of an increasing number of security incidents
in Benguela province.
The Angolan government also charged that UNITA have shelled several
villages in Huila province, forcing hundreds of villagers to flee their
In response to armed actions by UNITA, on 11 November, 22 UNITA soldiers
were arrested and charged with attacking a police unit at Kangandala, in
A further deserter from UNITA's military wing has further strengthened
the Angolan army's allegations.
According to the Angolan News Agency, ANGOP, a former UNITA officer,
stationed in Bailundo, turned himself over to the authorities in Bie province.
Alceres Domingos Andre, who was demobilised in Vila Nova on 12 May, stated
that he was subsequently taken to a base in Monte Belo, 12 km from Bailundo.
He said that 700 demobilised soldiers were being trained there for a return
Relations between the Government and UNITA were reported to be deteriorating
in Uige province. On 1 November it was reported by state radio that UNITA
had unilaterally suspended all its activities with the reinstatement of
government administration in Uige province.
In a further development, it was reported on 6 November that UNITA members
were abandoning Quitexe, Songo and Mucaba in Uige as well as Quisseque
commune in Negage.
UN peacekeeper assaulted by UNITA
The UN temporarily suspended operations in Jamba following an assault
on a Zambian peacekeeper and a Portuguese relief worker by a UNITA gang
on 12 November.
Lieutenant Warren Chanda was hospitalised following the incident in
Jamba. Suzanna dos Passos, a civil education officer with UCAH, was also
injured. Reuters reported on 12 November that a UNITA official in Luanda
confirmed the incident and that it was carried out by UNITA members.
Following the assaults, the UN announced that it was halting the demobilisation
of UNITA troops.
UNITA soldiers die in detention
There has been widespread shock at the death in detention of at least
ten UNITA soldiers in a jail in Malanje. Initial reports indicate that
the UNITA prisoners died of suffocation due to overcrowding in cells.
The Angolan government has sent a minister to Malanje to investigate
the incident, and has promised to punish those found responsible.
Meeting between leaders delayed
The planned meeting between President Eduardo dos Santos and UNITA leader
Jonas Savimbi, has been postponed following an injury to the Angolan president.
The meeting, which was due to take place at the end of November, has
been delayed. This follows the President's trip to Brazil for an operation
to his Achilles' tendon. It is expected that after his return in early
December a new date will be fixed.
The President has been firmly of the opinion that the meeting should
take place in the Angolan capital, Luanda. However, UNITA have so far cited
"security" worries to avoid a meeting in Angola.
Angolan government criticised over Congo-Brazzaville
The Angolan government has come under further criticism over its intervention
in neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville, which routed UNITA guerrillas and Cabindan
separatist forces, and brought to an end the bitter civil war in the west
The US House of Representatives on 18 November passed Resolution 273
which "condemns the military intervention by the Government of Angola
into the Republic of Congo", and called on the Angolans to "immediately
withdraw all military troops, supplies and other assistance from the Republic
of Congo". The resolution also urges the US administration to withhold
"any military training and assistance to Angola until it ceases all
military activity in the Republic of Congo".
Togo under pressure to distance itself from UNITA
The London-based journal, SouthScan (21 November), has reported that
Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema, is being put under pressure to abandon
his old friend, Jonas Savimbi.
A SouthScan source has stated that Lome has been used as a conduit for
UNITA's illegally mined diamonds. This follows an article in the Paris-based
journal, Lettre du Continent, which speculated that Angola was the main
topic during talks between President Eyadema and South African Deputy President
Thabo Mbeki in January.
Zambia coup allegations discounted
There have been unsubstantiated allegations that the Angolan government
was involved in October's failed coup attempt against President Chiluba
in neighbouring Zambia, in the wake of the Angolan intervention in the
However, analysts point out that unlike the successful revolts in the
Congos, the coup attempt in Zambia was poorly carried out, and there was
no suggestion of Angolan troops being involved.
The speculation has, however, focused attention on recognition that
the Angolan government is increasingly confident in its ability to defend
its territorial integrity and national security. The Washington Post on
8 November, stated that "Angola apparently did not intervene in Zambia,
but it successfully impressed upon its eastern neighbour the need to control
Historically, Zambia has been used as a supply route by UNITA. There
have also been recent allegations of sanctions busting through Zambia.
In July this year, a South African researcher at the Institute for Security
Studies alleged that it was likely that UNITA had imported arms through
The Angolan Interior Minister, Andre Pitra "Petroff" on 12
November, complained that aircraft from Zambia had violated Angolan airspace.
He said that "we will inform the Zambian authorities of our concerns".
New plane designed to detect mines
A company in Luxembourg has designed an aircraft with six sensors to gather
data on minefields. The airplane will fly at a height of around 400 meters
to detect landmines over 15 cm and up to 50 cm deep. It is hoped that the
aircraft can be used to speed up demining operations in Angola.
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 IV 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
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ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
fax +44 171 837 3001, telephone +44 171 833 3133. Back issues of the Angola
Peace Monitor are available on the World Wide Web at:http://www.anc.org.za/angola
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa
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