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Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 12
Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 12
Date Distributed (ymd): 980912
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+
This posting contains substantial excerpts from the Angola Peace Monitor
of September 3, with background on Angolan intervention in the Congo crisis
and the threat of return to full-scale war in Angola. The full text of
this issue of the Peace Monitor and the previous issue in August that was
not reposted by APIC are available in the Angola Peace Monitor archive
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Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign Issue
No. 12, Vol.IV. 3 September 1998
Angola intervenes in Congo crisis
Angolan troops have been involved in heavy fighting in the Democratic
Republic of Congo. Soldiers from the Angolan army, FAA, joined forces with
Zimbabwean and Namibian troops to fight rebels who were on the point of
entering the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.
There are an estimated two thousand Angolan troops in Congo, and their
intervention has swiftly restored control of Kinshasa to President Laurent
Kabila. According to the Zimbabwean information ministry, the rebels have
been cleared out of Kitona, Banana, Boma Songololo, Kasangula and the Inga
dam - which produces much of the electricity for Kinshasa.
Reliable diplomatic sources state that Angolan forces have achieved
their limited aim of saving Kinshasa and controlling the west of the country,
particularly around the Cabinda enclave. It is expected that now Angola
will push for a cease-fire and a negotiated settlement, although the Congolese
government is keen to take the fight to the east of the country to drive
out the rebels.
UNITA active in Congo
The Angolan government had given support to the Congolese rebel movement
which had ousted the late dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko in May 1997. Mobutu
had been a major supporter of the Angolan rebel movement, UNITA, and the
Angolan government had hoped that his replacement by Laurent Kabila would
result in a strengthening of the borders between the two countries.
However, the chaos created after Mobutu and his allies fled left a situation
in which a cocktail of anti-government forces from Angola, Rwanda and Uganda
continued to use the country as a springboard for offensive operations.
Despite this, Angola perceives that those out to topple Kabila have
the support of UNITA, and therefore took the decision to back him with
troops. Paradoxically, this has brought Angolan troops into conflict with
troops from Uganda and Rwanda who are giving military support to the rebels
fighting against Kabila - because they perceive that Kabila has not taken
action against their own rebels in Congo.
This is precisely the scenario which some members of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) were keen to avoid. Whilst all members of
SADC are strongly against the use of force to overthrow a SADC government
(DRC is the newest member of the organisation), there is a clear split
over how to achieve this.
At a special heads of state summit of SADC held in Pretoria on 23 August,
called by South African President Nelson Mandela, of the 14 SADC member
states only Angola, Congo and Zimbabwe were not represented by their heads
of state. Angola sent no delegate, whilst Zimbabwe sent its High Commissioner.
Also present at the meeting were the Presidents of Uganda and Rwanda. The
summit called for an "urgent cease-fire and immediate preparations
for a dialogue". ...
UNITA seizes third of ceded areas
While Angolan troops are involved in DRC, UNITA has resumed its military
strategy in Angola with offensives against strategic locations throughout
The security situation in Angola has continued to deteriorate, with
the rebel-movement UNITA seizing over a third of areas previously handed
over to government control under the Lusaka peace process.
The Angolan media reported on 1 September that the major diamond town
of Luremo, in Lunda Norte province, has fallen to UNITA. If this is true
it represents a major success for the rebels as they try to retake the
Angolan diamond fields.
According to the Angolan government UNITA has now retaken over 90 of
the 272 areas handed over to government control under the UN monitored
In response, the Angolan army, FAA, has been moving troops to defend
strategic locations, and there were several further clashes between FAA
and UNITA during August. In particular, there have been heavy clashes between
FAA and UNITA around Milando, which is a known UNITA base and part of the
UNITA supply corridor to Congo.
However, so far there have been no major large-scale battles as were
seen in the period after UNITA rejected the election results in 1992. ...
Lusaka peace process crumbles
Despite the Angolan government's genuine hopes for peace, the Lusaka
peace process is now crumbling.
The latest bombshell was the decision of UNITA on 24 August to cease
cooperation with the troika of observer nations because of their alleged
bias. Under the Lusaka Protocol the troika of Portugal, Russia and United
States have a special role in overseeing the peace process, and have observer
status at the Joint Commission.
UNITA claims that recent arms shipments from Russia to Angola, the decision
of President Clinton to impose tough sanctions on UNITA in line with UN
sanctions, and recent statements by Portugal, disqualifies them from carrying
out the neutral role of observer.
The UN Security Council responded on 25 August by calling on UNITA to
stop their delaying tactics and abide by the terms of the 1994 peace agreement.
The Angolan government has publicly taken this as being UNITA's final rejection
of the peace process. A Joint Commission meeting took place in Luanda on
25 August attended by UNITA, but the government representative, General
Higino Carneiro said of UNITA's position that it is "the same as saying
that the Lusaka protocol no longer applies. It means that UNITA rules itself
out of the protocol, thereby ending it."
UNITA expelled following government deadline
UNITA has been expelled from the Angolan Government of Unity and National
Reconciliation, and has had its members of the country's parliament suspended
because it has "taken up arms and violated the constitution of Angola,
the laws on political parties and the Lusaka Protocol" according to
a statement released on 31 August.
A government deadline, set in early August, for the normalisation of
state administration and the complete disarmament and demobilisation of
UNITA troops by 20 August, and for the transfer of UNITA's leadership to
Luanda by 30 August, was ignored by UNITA.
At a meeting of the Joint Commission in Luanda on 7 July, UNITA presented
proposals which included the extension of the state administration by mid-October.
UNITA argues that government forces have been attacking its supporters
in areas recently given over to government control, and that under these
conditions state administration cannot be extended. The UNITA proposal
was rejected by the government.
Following UNITA's failure to meet the government's deadline, Angolan
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos removed the four UNITA cabinet ministers
and seven vice-ministers from the government. The seventy UNITA deputies
elected in 1992 were also suspended from the Angolan parliament, the National
Assembly, on the grounds of "flagrant violation of the (1994) Lusaka
Suspension leads to split in UNITA
The suspension of UNITA from the Government and the National Assembly
has led to a split in the movement.
On 3 September, five senior members of UNITA, including Jorge Valentim
- a government minister, and Eugenio Manuvakola - the man who signed the
Lusaka Protocol on behalf of UNITA, announced in Luanda that they were
expelling Jonas Savimbi. ...
Future of UN in Angola in doubt
The rapid disintegration of the Lusaka peace process has left the future
of the UN Observer Mission in Angola, MONUA, in doubt.
The UN Security Council on 13 August adopted Resolution S/1998/749,
which renewed the MONUA mandate for one month, until 15 September, and
requested that the UN Secretary General report to them by the end of August
on recommendations on the future role of the UN in Angola.
The Security Council, inter alia, demanded that "UNITA comply immediately
and without conditions with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol and
with relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular the complete
demilitarisation of its forces and full cooperation in the immediate and
unconditional extension of State administration throughout the national
It also demanded that "UNITA cease its reoccupation of localities
where State administration was established and stop attacks by its members
on civilians, GURN authorities, including police, and United Nations and
The Security Council also called on the Angolan government to "ensure
that the Angolan National Police refrain from practices inconsistent with
the Lusaka Protocol and to respect the legal activities of UNITA as a political
party in accordance with the Lusaka Protocol".
The decision to continue for one month followed a damning report by
Kofi Annan, who stated on 6 August that "UNITA has maintained a significant
military capability, despite its past declarations on the demilitarisation
of its forces", and that these forces have been responsible for attacks
on villages, towns and major roads, as well as killings and kidnappings.
MONUA now has 728 military personnel, and these have been confined to
relatively safe areas. Questions are being increasingly raised about what
they are actually observing.
Hopes had been raised during the visit in early August to Angola of
the senior UN diplomat, Lakhdar Brahimi. During his visit he met with President
dos Santos and UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, and expressed optimism that
the process could be brought back on track.
During his visit, the UNITA delegate to the Joint Commission, Isaias
Samakuva, returned to Luanda after an absence of over two months. Brahimi
and Samakuva both took part in the Joint Commission on 7 August.
However, the person delegated to lead the UNITA political mission in
Luanda, General Antonio Dembo, has not returned to Luanda, raising fears
that UNITA have abandoned their political option.
New UN Special Representative appointed
The UN Secretary General has appointed Issa Diallo as his Special Representative
to Angola, where he arrived on 28 August. Diallo was previously the Director
of Conferences at the UN in Geneva, and worked as Deputy Director-General
of the Guinean Foreign Ministry from 1963 - 1968. His appointment follows
the death of the UN Special Representative Alioune Blondin Beye, on 26
June. Initial investigations into the plane crash in which Beye died have
suggested that there was no foul play. ...
UNITA buying arms and men
There have been reports that UNITA has been hiring foreign mercenaries
and buying modern artillery from Bulgaria and China. The reports suggest
that right-wingers in South Africa are behind plans to bring in mercenaries
from Europe to fight against the Angolan army. The Mail and Guardian has
reported that UNITA is bringing in 60 tons of supplies every day.
However, UNITA's source of funding is coming under increasing pressure.
Although it has lost its main diamond mining areas, it continues to mine
in other parts of the country, and has a sizeable stockpile. However, international
sanctions are likely to drive down the price it can get from its contacts.
Even more serious is the fallout of the economic recession in the far east,
which is forcing down diamond prices world-wide.
International sanctions have politically isolated UNITA, but their actual
implementation has had little practical effect. An investigation by The
Sunday Times in August showed that UNITA chief representative in Britain,
Anibal Kandeya, remains active despite efforts by the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office to have him expelled.
Meanwhile, the Angolan government has continued to buy new weaponry
on the international market. A report in Africa Analysis on 21 August states
that Angola has bought Russian attack helicopters and spares for military
There have also been widespread reports of both the government and UNITA
press-ganging youngsters into their armies. The Angolan government has
been accused of conscripting young men into the army, though these accusations
have been denied. At the beginning of August the organisations Inter-African
Network for Human Rights and Development (AFRONET) and Human Rights Watch
stated that UNITA was forcibly drafting into its army men and women aged
between 13 and 30 years; which led to tens of thousands of Angolans fleeing
The two organisations carried out interviews with Angolan refugees in
the Zambian refugee camps of Mayukwayukwa, Minyoni and Maheba. Allegations
surfaced in the interviews of rapes and murders of those not accepting
Human Rights Watch charged that the rebels had taken advantage of fact
that the Angolan authorities had fled the area to abuse the local population.
Alex Vines of Human Rights Watch said that "Government troops manning
the towns of Cazombo and Lumbala Ngimbo in Angola's Mushiko province are
no longer there and this has really encouraged the repression to go on."
UNITA continues to deny that it has any military capacity, although
it is estimated to have over 30,000 trained soldiers. The new term of "sideline
forces" has been invented for these troops by the UN and the troika.
Economic crisis leads to cuts
The economic crisis in Angola following the slump in oil prices from
$18 a barrel at the end of 1997 to around $12 has forced the Angolan government
to slash its budget by a quarter. However, the prevailing security crisis
has resulted in an overall increase in the defence spending, up from 5.7%
to 9.12% of the total. ...
Football star visits Angola
The French football ace, David Ginola, visited Angola at the end of
August on behalf of the Red Cross to highlight the horrors of unmapped
mines in Angola.
Ginola will be following in the footsteps of the late Diana, Princess
of Wales, who made a huge contribution to raising awareness internationally
about the problems Angola faces with landmines.
The footballer visited the Red Cross orthopaedic programme in Luanda,
where false limbs are manufactured. He also visited areas which are being
cleared of landmines.
Although the campaign is highlighting the estimated 8 - 11 million mines
laid in Angola, it is not tackling the ongoing threat posed by the new
laying of mines.
The UN Secretary General reported on 6 August that mines are being laid
near government controlled areas by UNITA, and that the Angolan army is
laying protective minefields around their positions. Landmine campaigners
have rejected the idea that mines can be used defensively.
A treaty was signed in Ottawa in December 1997 banning the use, production
or sale of landmines. 121 nations signed the Ottawa Treaty, although only
20, including the UK, have so far ratified it. Among those who have refused
to sign the treaty are the US, Russia and China.
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.
ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA
fax: +44 171 837 3001 telephone: +44 171 833 3133.
Back issues of the Angola Peace Monitor are available on the World Wide
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa
Policy Information Center (APIC). 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.