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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, IV, 5

Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 5
Date Distributed (ymd): 980131
Document reposted by APIC

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

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents: This issue of the Angola Peace Monitor notes a "final timetable" on peace in Angola, and partial steps towards implementaiton of that timetable. The UN Mission in Angola (MONUA) has been extended through April 30, 1998.

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Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign Issue
no. 5, Vol. IV 30th January 1998

UNITA driven out of Cuango Valley

The Angolan government has regained control of the Cuango Valley, one of the major diamond areas occupied by UNITA in 1992 on its return to war. A ceremony was held on 13 January in Cuango where the area was formally handed over by UNITA. However, reports point to the hand-over being a fait accompli.

It has become apparent that the Angolan army, FAA, had swept across the valley at the end of 1997 without any major resistance. According to a report on the BBC World Service, FAA moved over a thousand troops into the region at the end of last year, blocking off the entrances to UNITA's mines, and forcing UNITA's miners to withdraw. Reports state that over 9,000 Zairian miners have now returned home.

The BBC states that it is not clear whether an agreement was reached on the future role of UNITA in the diamond mines which facilitated UNITA's withdrawal, or if UNITA has now lost this huge source of income (estimated to be up to $350 million).

The Angola Peace Monitor in December outlined an agreement between the state diamond mining organisation, ENDIAMA, and UNITA. However, sources in Angola have recently suggested that the agreement was not finalised, and that UNITA is left without a financial stake in the mines.

About 70 per cent of diamonds mined by UNITA were from the Cuango Valley. There is evidence that UNITA is continuing to mine illegally in other parts of the country (see story below).

However, in recent months things were getting more difficult for them in the Cuango Valley. According to sources, UNITA has mined most of the diamonds possible through the use of low-tech methods. They have also found it harder to bring in equipment and buyers, as FAA took greater control over the region. In particular, the loss of allies in the two Congos left UNITA without any physically close international allies.

The diamond mining companies with legitimate concessions in the area are preparing to return. America Mineral Fields has announced that it will soon return to the area, and that it has bought out International Defence and Security's (IDAS) share of the mining concession for $90 million.

Brazil's Odebrecht Mining Services has joined with ENDIAMA and the Australian Ashton Mining Limited to form SDM, which will invest $140 million in mining around Luzamba. Odebrecht is also to explore other deposits at Catoca in a joint venture with ENDIAMA and Almazzi & Rossi.

"Final timetable" for peace set

On 9 January the Angolan government and the rebel movement UNITA agreed a timetable for the ending of the current peace process. The Lusaka Protocol, signed in November 1994, set out a list of obligations and duties for the signatories to carry out. Although delayed by more than a year, this process is now due to be completed by the end of February.

The timetable agreed is as follows:

  1. Conclude demobilisation of residual forces including the generals, in the framework of reforms - 28 January 1998.
  2. Define the security detachment of the UNITA President - 21 January 1998.
  3. Statement on the demilitarisation of UNITA - 31 January 1998.
  4. Complete and total legalisation of UNITA - 4 February 1998.
  5. Promulgation of the Special Status of the UNITA President - 9 February 1998.
  6. Conclusion of the extension of State Administration - 27 January 1998.
  7. Appointment of Governors, Vice-Governors and Ambassadors indicated by UNITA - 6 February 1998.
  8. Disarm civilian population - Ongoing.
  9. Installation of UNITA leadership in Luanda and extension of State Administration to Andulo and Bailundo - 28 February 1998.

The agreement was made just prior to the submission of a Report by the Secretary General of the UN to the Security Council on 12 January (S/1998/17), in the usual pattern of last-minute concessions by UNITA (see APM ad passim).

This agreed timetable is significant. Previous arrangements for carrying out tasks have either been delayed or broken. However, this is the first to set a deadline for ending the process. Whilst UNITA has already failed to comply with the timetable in respect to demobilisation and the extension of state administration, it does give a marker for the formal end to obligations.

UNITA to declare demilitarisation

On 11 December 1996 UNITA declared that it had quartered all its troops and handed over all its weapons to the United Nations. Subsequent fighting in Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Brazzaville and throughout Angola showed that this was untrue.

A face-saving euphemism of "residual" troops was used by the United Nations to describe the remaining UNITA troops. A total of 7,877 "residual" military personnel have been registered by the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). Under the timetable these are to be demobilised "in situ" by 28 January. According to the agreed timetable, on 31 January UNITA is to declare that it is fully demilitarised.

As the APM went to press on 30 January, demobilisation had not been completed.

Although it is commonly accepted that UNITA has between ten and twenty thousand unregistered troops (see APM ad passim) the declaration, if given, will draw a line under international and national obligations. The remaining UNITA troops will not come under the protection afforded under the Lusaka Protocol, and can be treated under Angolan law.

It was reported by Reuters on 27 January that a group of UNITA military officers had sought asylum in Uige. According to the report one brigadier, one major and some other officers entered the city stating that UNITA is preparing for a resumption of war.

Arms caches found

Several hidden arms caches have been found in areas recently handed back to the Angolan government.

On 20 January the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias reported that more than 1,000 weapons and ammunition, including RPG-7 rocket launchers and mortars, were found by the Angolan police in three caches in Milunga, Uige Province.

This followed the discovery at Sanza-Pombo in Uige Province at the beginning of the year of three other arms caches, along with a mass grave.

In Malanje Province, the police found caches at Caiombo and Cateco-Cangola. Near the city of Huambo police found caches in Longonjo, Cikala-Ciloango and Ekunya, which included long-range artillery.

It remains clear from the list of weapons handed in by UNITA, and those found by the Angolan police, that UNITA remains heavily armed. Most of its long-range artillery hardware, anti-aircraft capacity, and its communications equipment remains unaccounted for.

State administration delayed

UNITA has failed to complete the extension of state administration by 27 January. Under the agreed timetable, all areas under UNITA military occupation, except for Andulo and Bailundo, were due to be handed over. These two UNITA strongholds are due to be handed over by 28 February.

The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, reported to the Security Council that as of 8 January the government had re-established control of 239 out of 344 localities envisaged in the peace plan.

On 19 January government authority was re-established in Beu, Uige Province. Beu had been occcupied by UNITA on 13 January. Other locations have been handed over, but the process is far from complete.

Partial agreement on security detachment for Savimbi

The Angolan government and UNITA have partially agreed on the security detachment UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi is to keep.

The two sides have agreed that Savimbi is to keep 400 armed guards for his personal protection. These guards are to be located at his residences, which he intends to have in: Porto Amboim, Kwanza Sul Province; Lumbalanguimbo, Moxico Province; Lobito, Benguela Province; Munhango, Bie Province; and Luanda.

However, there is no agreement on how long the UNITA leader can maintain such a large armed force.

According to the Chinese News Agency, XINHUA, the government is insisting that the guards must be cut to only 15 over the next three to six months, whilst UNITA wants 18 months to reduce the level.

Joint Commission calls a halt to disarming civilians

The Joint Commission, which oversees the peace process, has called on the Angolan government to halt its disarmament of the civilian population. Under the Lusaka Protocol, the government was obliged to disarm the civilian population, which is heavily armed.

Following UNITA's return to war in 1992, many civilians in Luanda and other government-controlled areas were given arms. The government has come under criticism for not disarming this section of the Angolan population fast enough.

The Joint Commission made its call in response to complaints from UNITA that the Angolan police force was using excessive force in disarming UNITA militants in areas recently returned to government control.

Televisao Popular de Angola reported on 3 January that 363 weapons were taken from civilians in Benguela Province by the Police at the beginning of the year.

Jonas Savimbi due to meet President in February

Under the 9 January agreement, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi is to return to the Angolan capital, Luanda, by the end of February.

A team of UNITA officials from Bailundo arrived in Luanda on 19 January to prepare for a meeting between President dos Santos and Mr Savimbi. The delegation suggested that the meeting might take place between 16 and 20 February.

Government direct action in face of weak sanctions

UNITA faced a further crushing blow to its dual strategy of talking peace whilst preparing for war when a DC-4 aircraft bringing it supplies from South Africa was forced down at Menongue by a MIG fighter of the Angolan Air Force on 20 January. It was found to be carrying building and mining material destined for the UNITA stronghold of Andulo.

The aircraft flew from Lanseria Airport, Johannesburg, stopping in Botswana and Zambia for refuelling. Its crew of three and its five passengers were arrested and now await trial.

The Angolan airforce has warned that in the future illegal flights will be shot down. There were rumours circulating in Luanda on 23 January that an illegal flight had been shot down.

The South African ambassador to Angola, Reggie Mampane, congratulated the Angolans on capturing the aircraft. In an interview with Reuters, he said "I told them, if necessary they should even shoot these planes down".

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Committee for the Inter-State Defence and Security body released a statement on 15 January which said that from now on smugglers "risk losing both their lives and property and the countries of the region shall not be held responsible for any eventualities".

Although only one flight has so far been halted, the threat to shoot down future flights will not go unnoticed by those who have been illegally supplying UNITA.

Sanctions lack bite

The recent action by the Angolan government is in stark contrast to the weak international efforts to implement sanctions.

The latest sanctions, imposed on 29 October 1997, were to have been implemented immediately. However, by the end of January 1998 UNITA offices were still operating internationally, and illegal flights were still entering Angola through South Africa and Zambia.

On 26 January President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation signed a decree banning named UNITA personnel from entering the country. However, no information has been obtained of any further action against UNITA offices internationally. The UNITA office in London is still open and operating. The UN Sanctions Committee has named 11 leading UNITA members who are not to enter or travel through member states. These are Jonas Melheiro Savimbi, Mbaca Chicala, Marcial Dachala, Antonio Sebastiao Dembo, Paulo Lukamba Gato, Odete Ludevina, Alcides Tchacala, Artur Correla Victor, Abillo Camalato, Aniceto Silas Gato, Altino "Bock" Sapalalo.

All member states were obliged to inform the Sanctions Committee of actions taken to implement sanctions against UNITA. However, by the end of 1997 only 31 states had done so.

UN Security Council extends MONUA for 3 months

The UN Security Council on 27 January decided to extend the mandate of MONUA until 30 April 1998.

The Security Council accepted Kofi Annan's view that UN military personnel should be reduced from 1,604 on 9 January to 910.

It asked the Secretary General to report again by the 13 March on the future of the UN presence in Angola.

Demining continues

The UN Secretary General has reported that almost half of Angola has been surveyed for mines, covering the areas where about 80 per cent of the population live.

Out of an estimated 2,000 - 2,500 minefields, 1,800 minefields have been identified. However, the Secretary General warns that due to the large size of the country, the severity of the problem and the shortage of funds and trained personnel, there has only been limited progress in mine marking and mine clearance.

So far 700 square kilometres have been demined and roughly 10,000 mines cleared. It is estimated that anything up to 8 million mines remain in the ground.

Plans to rehabilitate railways

The Ministry of Transportation has announced that it plans to complete the rehabilitation of the rail link between Menongue and Luanda in the first half of 1998. Passenger trains have already been resumed between Luanda and Dondo, Kwanza Norte.

The Angolan government has spent over $400 million repairing the line from Namibe and Matala. Repair work on the famous Benguela line is also due to begin this year.

Security firm banned

The British company Defence Systems Limited (DSL) was ordered by the Angolan government on 16 January to leave the country.

The reason given for its expulsion was that it did not comply with a law which stated that the management should involve Angolans. All senior posts in DSL are said to be taken by non-nationals.

DSL had contracts to secure many businesses and embassies in Angola.

Beye recovering from heart bypass

The UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, is recovering from a heart bypass operation he underwent in Germany.

MPLA founder dies

Joao Octavio "Zito" Van Dunem, one of the founders of the MPLA, Angola's liberation movement, died on 12 January 1998.

Oil discoveries

The French oil company, Total, announced on 5 January that it has discovered a very promising new oil field called Landana off Cabinda. The field is to be jointly exploited with Chevron, Agip, Sonangol and Petrogal.

In December Elf Aquitaine announced another major oil find in Block 17.


The Joint Commission is the body overseeing the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. It is comprised of representatives from the Angolan government, UNITA, and the troika observer states of the Russian Federation, Portugal and the United States. It is chaired by the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye.

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

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 individuals.

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