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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, 8

Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 8
Date Distributed (ymd): 980504
Document reposted by APIC

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

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This posting reports the extension of the mandate of the UN Observer Mission in Angola, with cautious optimism on completion of the peace process, despite continued UNITA control of key areas of the countryside. If all goes as scheduled, the UN mission will officially be completed by the end of 1998.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 8, Vol. IV 30th April 1998

(excerpts: the full version, containing several additional news items, as well as back issues, can be found at

UN plans to withdraw by end of 1998

The United Nations Security Council, meeting on 29 April, decided to back the plans of its Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and prepare for a withdrawal of the UN Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA). It also chose to extend MONUA's mandate to 30 June, by which time it intends to make a final decision on the future of UN operations in Angola.

The Security Council adopted Resolution 1164(1998) which extends the mandate of MONUA until 30 June 1998, and accepted the recommendations of the Secretary General, which were to reduce the military component of MONUA from the current 1,045 soldiers to 450 by the 1 July. It is planned that the remaining soldiers will stay in the country until the end of 1998.

In his report to the Security Council on 16 April (S/1998/333) Kofi Annan stated that of the twelve tasks that had remained for the completion of the Lusaka Protocol, the agreement signed in 1994 which underpins the present peace process, all but the extension of state administration throughout the country have been carried out. He noted that the tasks should have been completed by the end of March, and also warned that the improvement in the political climate has not resulted in an improvement in the security situation with widespread attacks by UNITA.

The significant progress made towards completing the obligations under the Lusaka Protocol is a source of optimism amongst many international actors in the Angolan conflict, not least the United Nations who are looking for a successful ending to their peacekeeping operations in the country. The optimism also stems from a belief that with UNITA members participating in both the Angolan parliament and the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation, and the loss of most of UNITA's international allies, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi would be isolated if he did try to relaunch a full-scale war.

However, the situation on the ground remains very dangerous, with Jonas Savimbi continuing to use his conscript rebel army to destabilise the country.

Peacekeeping strains UN budget

In his report to the Security Council, Kofi Annan pointed out that the operation in Angola had a budget of $175 million for the period 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998. He proposed that the United Nations approve a budget of $140.8 million for the period 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999.

In a sign of the strain on UN peacekeeping operations, he revealed that the UN is owed $94 million by member states for the operation in Angola, and a staggering $1,547 million for all UN peacekeeping operations.

Experts on international relations have pointed out that with hostility to the UN increasing in some quarters following Kofi Annan's successful diffusion of the crisis in Iraq, the UN is under greater pressure to walk out of Angola with an increased reputation.

Inside sources have revealed that at the UN Security Council meeting on Angola there was pressure to reject the Secretary General's plans to continue MONUA to the end of the year.

Various tasks completed

UNITA Vice-President arrives in Luanda

UNITA vice-president Antonio Dembo arrived in Luanda on 1 April, partially fulfilling UNITA's promise to send its leadership to the capital.

Dembo is a figure seen as highly loyal to Savimbi. However, other senior UNITA members who have moved to Luanda have drifted out of Savimbi's control as they have worked for a political settlement in the country.

According to various sources, including the Johannesburg-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS), there is a growing split in the organisation, with leading UNITA members in Luanda literally too scared to travel to meet Savimbi.

UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi is currently refusing to leave Andulo and Bailundo, where he coordinates his plans with senior confidantes, General Kamalata "Numa", General Altino Sapalalo "Bock", Marcial Dachala and UNITA Secretary-General Paulo Lukamba "Gato".

On his arrival, Dembo set up a UNITA Coordinating Group (UCG) for political activities in the capital, composed of Dembo, Martires Correa Victor, Alcides Sakala, Franco Marcolino Nhany, Isaias Henrique Ngola Samakuva, and Abel Chivukuvuku.

To encourage UNITA to return to Luanda the Angolan government has spent $600,000 refurbishing a building in Luanda's Sao Paulo Ward, which is to be offered to UNITA for use as their headquarters. The building was badly damaged during fighting in 1992 between UNITA and pro-government forces.

Savimbi gets special status and protection

On 31 March a law was promulgated awarding UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi the official position of Leader of the Opposition.

On 10 April a special VIP protection unit of the national police force was officially formed for Savimbi, making up his 400-strong personal security unit. This number is to be gradually reduced to 150.

Radio Vorgan ceases broadcasts

UNITA's pirate radio station, Radio Vorgan, ceased broadcasting at the beginning of April, and has now been replaced by the legal FM station Radio Despertar.

UNITA continues to occupy strategic areas

Kofi Annan's report to the Security Council drew attention to the fact that much of the country is still under military occupation by UNITA (whilst at the same time accepting UNITA's declaration on 6 March that it has demilitarised).

During the month since his last report, only five localities were handed over to state administration. The only notable one of these was Mussende, which was handed over on 9 April.

The municipality of Mussende is one of six UNITA-controlled towns which have been designated highly sensitive by the UN. A Joint Commission meeting on 17 April failed to reach agreement on the extension of state administration to the "sensitive" areas of Andulo, Mungo, Nharea and Bailundo. Nor has agreement been reached on handing back Jamba to Government control.

An agreement which had been reached following a government delegation's trip to meet UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi on 8 April was abandoned by UNITA. When the government delegation visited Andulo and Bailundo on 16 April to further discuss the handing over of these vital areas, they found that UNITA had changed its mind. According to Vice-Minister for Territorial Administration, Higino Carneiro, "if we knew UNITA had changed its mind we would not have gone there in the first place".

Weapons handed over in Cuanza Norte

Two tons of weapons have been handed over to the police in Cuanza Norte Province as part of the civilian disarmament process. According to police sources, this completes the voluntary stage of disarmament, and is to be followed by the arrest of people still holding weapons illegally. In Cutulungo District at the beginning of April, about 2 tons of weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons, mines, mortars, handgrenades, shells, and assorted ammunition were discovered by the police.

Provincial Police Commander Eduardo Cerqueira commented that "from the moment UNITA stopped being an armed party and became a political party, it had to declare it has no more weapons. We will now have to deal with people found with illegal possession of weapons".

Police in Cuando-Cubango have recovered more than 600 AKM assault rifles from civilians.

Sanctions Committee reports fewer flights to UNITA

The number of flights violating the UN sanctions on UNITA have dropped significantly, according to the Chair of the UN Sanctions Committee, Kenyan Ambassador Njuguna Mahugu. A report prepared by the diplomat following his visit to the area from 21 to 29 March, said that whilst there were at least 186 such flights to UNITA last December, most of them from South Africa, there were only about 40 flights in the January-February period.

In his report to the Security Council, Kofi Annan said there were few aircraft landing in Andulo and Bailundo in March. However, he conceded that UNITA may be diverting flights to airstrips not monitored by the UN.

Sources in the Ivory Coast have stated that in April a UN delegation led by Mahugu, held private talks with Ivorian Presidential Affairs Minister Faustin Kouame to complain about the country helping UNITA to circumvent international sanctions. Among the complaints raised is the issuing of Ivory Coast passports to UNITA officials. Those benefiting include the UNITA representative in Britain, Mr Kandeya, who has applied to the Home Office for leave to remain in the country, and is awaiting their decision.

South African clampdown on smugglers

The South African police have laid 200 charges related to the Civil Aviation Act following an operation at Pietersburg airport in Northern Province. There is speculation that military equipment such as fuel tanks and tow trucks, clothing, food and mining equipment were being exported to UNITA, violating UN sanctions. Several aircraft have been grounded following the operation. The aircraft involved belonged to Russian nationals who live in South Africa legally.

Military situation worrying

The UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to Angola Blondin Beye on 20 April described the military situation in Angola as "worrying". Beye said that the situation in the central-southern provinces was not stable "not because there is war but because there is military activity beyond simple banditry". The UN and its member states have been particularly infuriated by an attack in N'gove on 23 April by over one hundred soldiers on a UN team site. The site was over-run, and UN officials were detained whilst the bandits stripped the site before driving off in UN vehicles. Diplomatic sources say off the record that there is no doubt that this was an attack by UNITA.

This followed another large scale attack resulting in the destruction of UN vehicles. One person was murdered in the attack on Chongoroi on 27th March and three were wounded. No UN staff were injured.

The Joint Commission on 30 March called on the government to pursue and thwart those responsible for the attack. Although the Joint Commission did not name the culprits, it is widely accepted that UNITA troops were also responsible. The Angolan army had regained control of the town by 30 March.

Warnings of UNITA war preparations

On 30 March the Government sent an open letter to UN Special Representative Alioune Blondin Beye, warning of UNITA preparations for war. Blondin Beye subsequently stated that the letter should not have been made public as it was inflammatory.

The letter names several UNITA military leaders said to be involved in war preparations, including General Numa in Cambundi-Catembo, Brigadier Apolo in the outskirts of Negage, Brigadiers Abreu and Amadeu in Milando, and General Bock.

The Government also alleged, inter alia, that UNITA has deployed three battalions in Negage, Uige Province, and has assembled soldiers and weapons in Milando. The letter also warned that UNITA intends to attack in Malanje, Uige and Lunda Norte provinces, with about 8,000 armed men equipped with armoured vehicles, and heavy artillery including B-12, D-30, C-106 and C-130 artillery and the 24 OT super gun.

Benguela Governor deplores UNITA attacks

Benguela's Provincial Governor, Dumilde Rangel, told UN Special Representative Alioune Blondin Beye that "residual" UNITA forces carried out 95 attacks in the province between January and March. As a result of these attacks, 45 civilians and soldiers were killed, 52 wounded and 67 people abducted.

Governor Rangel also commented that of the 16 communes, 620 villages and hamlets and nine districts that had been restored to state administration, UNITA had reoccupied 11 hamlets. It was also reported that on 12 April 30 UNITA soldiers attacked Cachiquela village in Huambo province.

Five policemen abducted

Five Rapid Intervention Police officers have been abducted by UNITA forces who attacked the commune of Chitala, in Huambo province on 7th April.

During the attack, several civilians were killed and the commune was abandoned. It is feared that the five police officers will be killed. In a previous incident, 16 police officers who were kidnapped on 8 March in Cuando-Cubango province were killed on 12 March at Base Porto, according to two survivors who escaped.


New MONUA Commander appointed

The UN Secretary-General on 26 April appointed Major-General Seth Kofi Obeng of Ghana as the New Force Commander of MONUA from 1 May.

New constitution planned

The MPLA Central Committee held its 12th ordinary session at the Futungo de Belas Palace in Luanda, chaired by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Opening the meeting on 23 April, President dos Santos said that the Political Bureau has created a working group to draft the country's future Constitution.

He said that the draft's "great novelty is a proposal to change the political system to also grant the President of the Republic administrative and other powers, as well as the post of Head of Government. This makes the President immediately part of the government, which is not the case in the current system". The National Assembly on 15 April had formally agreed to draft a new constitution.

The President also warned that "the United Nations has declared that the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola [UNITA] is now completely demilitarised and the relevant state organs must take the necessary steps to repress acts of armed banditry in various parts of the nation, and hold their perpetrators both criminally and politically liable".


US Special Envoy visits Savimbi

US President Clinton's Special Envoy, Paul Hare, visited Andulo on 2 April where he met with Jonas Savimbi. Paul Hare was part of a high level delegation that visited Angola during President Clinton's trip to Africa. Also on the delegation was General James Jamerson, the Deputy Commander of US Land Forces in Europe, and Joseph Wilson, Special Assistant of the US President.

President Mandela visits Angola

The President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, arrived in Angola on 29 April, along with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Alfred Nzo; Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alec Erwin; Minister of Health, Dr Nkosazana Zuma; Minister of Welfare and Population Development, Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi; Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs, Mr Penuel Maduna and the Minister of Housing, Ms Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele. The high level delegation visited the country to strengthen economic and political ties.

Also in the country was a 45-strong South African business delegation, who were attending the South African/Angola Investment Conference. The South African President laid a wreath at the Santana Cemetery in Luanda in honour of South African freedom fighters who died in Angola.

OAU sends envoy to Angola

The Organisation of African Unity, OAU, Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim sent his Special Envoy, Daniel Antonio, to Angola on 14 April where he met with Prime Minister Fernando Franca van Dunem

The OAU official said he thought that the peace process was going better at this stage. Following the visit, the OAU on 19 April issued a statement urging the world to uphold UN sanctions imposed on UNITA.


Legal diamond mining earns $120 million

Minister of Geology and Mines Marcos Samondo said on 14 April that the country's formal mineral sector produced 432,170 carats of diamond in 1997, earning $120 million. However, Samondo said that the diamond output of the informal sector amounted to 882,000 carats, valued at $239 million.

Until recently when UNITA ceded control of the diamond areas in the north-east of the country to the government, most of the informal sector was under the control of UNITA. UNITA still continues to mine for diamonds around its headquarters at Andulo.

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 individuals.

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