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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, 12

Angola: Peace Monitor, IV, 12
Date Distributed (ymd): 980912
Document reposted by APIC

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

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
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 country.

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 peace process.

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 peace protocol".

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 territory"

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 international personnel".

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 equipment.

Press-ganging widespread

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 to Zambia.

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 UNITA's demands.

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 Web at:

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.

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