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Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 5
Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 5
Date Distributed (ymd): 990129
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents: This issue of the Angola Peace Monitor
renewed escalation of war. Since the Monitor went to press,
Unita has captured the strategic town of Mbanza Congo, close
to oil-producing areas, and the Angolan government has
announced that it will officially abandon the 4-year-old
Lusaka peace treaty with Unita. For recent news see:
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 5, Vol. V
22nd January 1999
[excerpts; full text can be found at
UN prepares to withdraw MONUA
The United Nations looks set to pull out its 1,000 member
peacekeeping mission in Angola, MONUA, after UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan accepted that the peace process agreed in
Lusaka in 1994 was effectively over.
Behind the scenes at the UN Headquarters in New York, frantic
moves were afoot to reconcile the Secretary General's bleak
assessment of the UN's role in Angola with the need to keep an
effective presence in the country.
In a Presidential Statement made on 21 January (S/PRST/1999/3)
the Security Council "underlines the great importance it
attaches to a continued multidisciplinary presence of the UN
under the direction of a Representative of the
Secretary-General in Angola". ...
In his report to the Security Council (S/1999/49) on 17
January the Secretary General stated that "several statements
made by the parties, together with the intensifying
hostilities, effectively ended any hope for the resumption of
the implementation of the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol in
the foreseeable future".
According to the report, "the root causes of this deeply
regrettable state of affairs are well known. They lie in
UNITA's refusal to comply with basic provisions of the Lusaka
Protocol which demanded that it demilitarise its forces and
allow State administration to be extended throughout the
Secretary General's recommendations
The Secretary General suggested that "upon the expiration of
MONUA's mandate on 26 February 1999, the United Nations would
then proceed with its [MONUA's] technical liquidation".
Kofi Annan states that if the present pace of redeployment is
maintained, all MONUA site teams and regional headquarters
will have been withdrawn to Luanda by mid-February. He
envisages that most of the military, police and civilian
personnel of MONUA will be repatriated by 20 March. The
complete repatriation process is estimated to take up to six
Despite recommending that MONUA be dismantled, Kofi Annan
states that "the UN and the international community should not
and must not turn its back on Angola and the Angolan people".
He insisted that the UN should persist in efforts to assist
Angolans to find the earliest possible resolution to the
conflict. In view of this he suggests that a Special Envoy be
appointed, based in New York.
He also promotes keeping a full humanitarian assistance
programme in place, and the continuation of the UN human
rights team - although whether this function should continue
to be housed in the military framework of MONUA or moved to
the UCAH / humanitarian section is being debated.
The current situation is highly embarrassing to the United
Nations, having spent $1.5 billion on operations in Angola
which have failed to bring Jonas Savimbi into the peace
process. According to The Guardian newspaper, published in
London on 19 January, the report by Kofi Annan "is an
admission that the UN has had its most serious failure in
Africa since the Congo debacle in the 1960's". The Guardian
continues that "for seven years the peacekeepers have, in
effect, been a shield behind which UNITA troops have been able
to hide and re-arm".
Angolan parties consider attitude to UN
Despite the reservations the Angolan government has over the
United Nations role, it is unlikely that it would oppose a new
mandate based on humanitarian assistance and human rights
The UN Secretary General reported that "in a note verbale
dated 21 December 1998, the Minister of Territorial
Administration advised my Special Representative to
concentrate all MONUA personnel in Luanda "given the renewal
of military hostilities and the fact that MONUA observers were
no longer monitoring" the situation on the ground, and to
gradually repatriate them, since the Angolan Government did
not envisage the extension of the mandate of the Mission
beyond February 1999".
On 22 December the Angolan Government's Council of Ministers'
Standing Commission complained of the "passive and complacent
manner in which the international community witnessed UNITA's
repeated failures to adhere to the Lusaka Protocol, despite
complaints made at the appropriate time".
The declaration also stated that it "finds it difficult to
understand that thousands of UN observers deployed in Angola
... never realised what was happening, especially when they
endorsed UNITA's formal declaration issued in mid-1998 to the
effect that it had disarmed and demilitarised its forces
The statement went on to regret that "the UN Security Council
acts as if it is using double standards to evaluate similar
situations. On the one hand, the Security Council uses
punitive military retaliation against those who disregard its
resolutions and, on the other, as seen in the case of Angola,
it systematically gives the benefit of the doubt and new
opportunities for dialogue to the transgressor who has been
identified repeatedly and clearly". ...
UN talks of tougher sanctions
Despite the UN Secretary General's stated intention of winding
up MONUA, the UN Security Council is considering imposing new
sanctions on UNITA and tightening those sanctions which are
currently in place but generally flouted.
In his report to the UN Security Council, Kofi Annan suggests
that it consider authorising the commission of an expert study
on possible ways of tracing violations of sanctions.
He also states that he is to report to the Security Council on
the possible suspension of UNITA's telecommunications. This
move was mooted by the Security Council in its resolution
(S/RES/1221) on 12 January 1999. However, a number of
countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom
have publicly come out against sanctions on
telecommunications, arguing that they are impractical and
would be against free speech.
In January 1999 a new Chair has been appointed to the UN
Sanctions Committee. The Canadian Ambassador to the UN, Robert
Fowler, has expressed a genuine interest and will to implement
the existing sanctions. However, the Secretary General's
report underlines the weakness of the sanctions. He admits
that the "responsibility for the implementation of these
measures rests with Member States".
Despite the fact that such sanctions are mandatory, the UN
Sanctions Committee set up to report on sanctions against
UNITA neither has a budget to investigate sanctions busting,
nor any power to take action against transgressors.
Thousands flee as UNITA sweeps towards cities
Hundreds of thousands of Angolans have fled to government
controlled cities in the face of an all-out assault by the
UNITA rebel movement. Food and essential medical supplies are
running out in the cities of Huambo, Cuito and Malanje
following the influx of terrified refugees.
According to a World Food Programme estimate, there are 70,000
refugees in Malanje; 80,000 in Huambo; and 55,000 in Cuito. A
recent survey in Malanje indicated that ten per cent of the
local population were suffering from malnutrition. Most of the
refugees fled with few possessions, and the situation is
World Food Programme flights in Angola were suspended at the
end of December after the first UN transport plane was shot
down after leaving Huambo (see separate story). All flights
into Cuito airport were stopped due to the shelling of the
city, although the airport reopened on 4 January. Roads into
Huambo and Cuito have been cut by the intense fighting.
Until WFP flights were suspended, the UN organisation was
making 20 flights every week, taking 350 tonnes on each
flight. WFP resumed its flights on 13 January, taking food to
the towns of Luena, Uige/Negage, Ndalantando, Benguela,
Lubango, Menongue, N'Zaji and Saurimo. ...
In another important development, the UN Deputy Emergency
Relief Co-ordinator Martin Griffiths arrived in Luanda on 14
January to assess future humanitarian operations. The need for
a commitment by all forces to respect humanitarian aid
operations was highlighted in the UN Secretary General's
report, which warned of the need to "allow unrestricted access
to affected populations, including potential cross-line and
The future in Angola looks bleak, as December saw the
beginning of the harvesting season. Crops will rot if farmers
have fled to government-controlled towns. It will soon be time
to sow next season's crops.
UNITA shifts attacks to north
In recent weeks the rebel-army of Jonas Savimbi has moved its
attention to the north of Angola following its failure to take
control of the strategically and historically important cities
of Huambo and Cuito.
At the beginning of December UNITA launched a heavy attack on
the two cities in the Central Highlands, using newly acquired
tanks and armoured personnel carriers (see APM no.4 vol V).
The offensive on the two cities has now been stopped and UNITA
troops have been pushed back out of firing range.
For a period the rebels were using medium range artillery to
shell the two cities. Cuito was particularly badly hit,
suffering shelling for 25 days. More than 150 people were
killed and 500 injured by the shelling.
However, a government army (FAA) counter-offensive has pushed
the rebels away from the cities. The safety zone around Huambo
is now between 48 and 64 km and FAA has retaken the key town
of Tchikala-Tchilohanga (formerly known as Vila Nova). The
town, one of UNITA's key bases, lies close to the crossroads
at Bela Vista, which leads to Bailundo. Heavy fighting has
continued over this strategically important area.
FAA have also retaken Chiloda, Cantao, Catama and Chipeta -
which are near Cuito. Cunhinga, 30km from Cuito is under FAA
control. FAA report that it has destroyed a UNITA base at
Ceilunga, 15 km north east of Cuito.
Military sources in Luanda claim that three key UNITA special
forces units were destroyed in the battle for Cuito. Rumours
are circulating that the head of UNITA's rebel forces, General
Bock, has been demoted following the defeat.
In the north of the country UNITA forces have been advancing
towards the town of Soyo and the capital of Zaire Province -
Mbanza Congo. UNITA has been attacking Dundo, Lucapa and
Camissobo in Lunda Norte province. The Angolan government
alleges that UNITA plans to destroy the hydroelectric dam at
Luachimo, which supplies electricity to Chitato, Cambulo,
Lucapa and Dundo.
Malanje city has been under heavy bombardment by UNITA, and
hundreds have been killed and injured. It is reported that
there is a severe shortage of blood supplies. Much of Malanje
province is under rebel control, with reports that the rebels
have set up a base at Cazundo, 8 km from Malanje city.
In Luena, Moxico province, the safety perimeter around the
town has shrunk to 10-15 km following UNITA attacks. In
Benguela province, fighting has been centred over the town of
Balombo, where thousands of refugees have fled from UNITA.
More than 5,000 people have recently fled to Caxito in Bengo
province from Cuanza Norte. The number of refugees in the town
is now 23,000
There have been reports that in the far south, UNITA is
re-occupying bases along the Namibian-Angolan border which it
had abandoned following the signing of the Lusaka Peace
Accords in 1994.
UNITA arsenal unveiled
The recent fighting in Angola has brought to light the full
scale of the weapons at UNITA's disposal.
The fighting around Cuito revealed for the first time that
UNITA were in possession of T-55 tanks. These tanks, made in
the Ukraine, were operated by Ukrainian mercenaries. Sources
in FAA estimate that 90 tanks were brought into Andulo and
Bailundo by air. It has been independently confirmed that UN
observers in Andulo were not allowed to monitor the nightly
flights into the town's airstrip. Some commentators have
questioned the acceptability of monitors being so severely
restricted, and compared the situation unfavourably with the
response to restrictions placed on UN personnel in Iraq. ...
There have been persistent allegations, though so far
unproven, that weapons have been transhipped through Uganda.
The UN news agency, IRIN, reported on 21 December that a
London-based Angolan specialist claimed that "arms for UNITA
have been going through Kampala for a very long time,
organised by South African arms dealers. Whether there is any
actual support for UNITA by (President) Museveni is unknown."
Attention has recently focussed on allegations that Zambian
officials have also been involved - allegations which are
UNITA divisions widen
Divisions have widened between the three groups of UNITA
supporters in Angola - Jonas Savimbi's militarist wing,
Euginio Manuvakola's UNITA-Renovada, and Abel Chivukuvuku's
supporters amongst UNITA's parliamentarians.
UNITA-Renovada has claimed authority over the UNITA
parliamentary group through its control of UNITA's Provisional
Directorate. On 24 December it suspended the former leader of
the UNITA parliamentary group, Abel Chivukuvuku, on the
grounds of "obstructionist behaviour". The Provisional
Directorate also suspended UNITA parliamentarians Isaias
Samakuva, Daniel Jose Domingos and Celestino Capapelo.
UNITA-Renovada broke away from Jonas Savimbi in September
1998. Since then there has been a power struggle between it
and the majority of the UNITA parliamentarians. Most of them
continue to support Abel Chivukuvuku and object to the
imposition of Eugenio Manuvakola as their titular leader. ...
Diamond mining hit
UNITA has admitted to murdering four workers at the diamond
mine being run by Ashton Mining on 6 January. Two Angolan
security guards, and a British and a Brazilian mining official
were killed in an ambush near the mining town of Luzamba.
DiamondWorks, whose Yetwene mine was attacked by UNITA on 8
November, during which 8 people died and 10 others were
kidnapped, is said to be losing $2 million a month as a result
of the attack.
The government's diamond company, Endiama, has admitted that
the war is holding back diamond production. ... Endiama
estimates that diamond production in 1998 amounted to $430
million, but only $180 million were generated by the formal
European Union condemns UNITA
Both the European Union and the European Parliament have
blamed UNITA for the present war in Angola, and are taking
steps against the rebel organisation.
A European Union presidential statement on 28 December
expressed its "grave concern" at the deteriorating situation
in Angola. The statement said that UNITA has "unjustifiably
failed to demilitarise its forces and facilitate the extension
of state administration throughout the national territory".
The European Parliament on 13 January passed a resolution
calling, inter alia, for a "thorough and urgent investigation
by the European Commission into the conduct of the diamond
trade with a view to eliminating smuggling by UNITA to fund
its war effort".
The resolution "condemns firmly the resumption of war" and
states its belief that "there can be no military solution to
the conflict". However, it points out that "UNITA bears the
main responsibility for this grave setback in the peace
Jonas Savimbi denounced as a "murderous dictator"
Jonas Savimbi's biographer, British journalist Fred Bridgland,
has launched an extraordinary attack on the man he once called
"a key to Africa", declaring him to be a "murderous dictator".
The attack is even more notable, considering Bridgland was
once known by his detractors as "Savimbi's press attache".
Speaking at a packed meeting, hosted by the British Angola
Forum at the Royal Institute for International Affairs'
Chatham House, Bridgland focussed his talk on the murder of
Tito Chingunji and his closest relatives.
Tito Chingunji came from a well respected UNITA family, and
rose to be Jonas Savimbi's senior international spokesperson.
Bridgland met Chingunji for the first time in 1975, and over
the years they became close friends.
However, in 1988 Chingunji met with Bridgland and told him
that he had learnt that Savimbi had ordered the killing of his
mother and father, four brothers and sister. According to
Chingunji, his parents were killed in 1979; David Chingunji
was shot in 1970; Samuel was poisoned in 1974; Estevao shot in
1976; Paulo died in an unexplained motor accident in 1977.
Furthermore, several senior UNITA leaders outside the
Chingunji family, including Jorge Sangumba, the first UNITA
"foreign secretary"; Valdemar Chindondo, UNITA's military
chief-of-staff at the time; and UNITA commander Major Aurelius
Katalayo had been murdered on Savimbi's orders. Tito Chingunji
and several more of his relatives were murdered in July 1991.
In a telling passage, Bridgland stated that "executions,
tortures, forced marriages and abuse of women were almost the
least of Savimbi's excesses. He also began burning women and
children to death in public".
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