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Angola: Recent Documents
Angola: Recent Documents
Date distributed (ymd): 990313
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
This posting contains a report from the UN's Integrated
Regional Information Network (IRIN) on the humanitarian
situation in Angola, as well as excerpts from the most recent
Angola Peace Monitor. For additional updates see Africa News
IRIN special focus on worsening humanitarian situation
Contact IRIN-SA (Tel: +27 11 880 4633, e-mail
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HUAMBO, Angola, 3 March (IRIN) - Huambo, Angola's second city,
used to be a town noted for its architecture and the flowering
tropical plants which it produced for export. Today most of
its buildings are in ruins or scarred by battles past, its
roads pot-holed and rutted, and the population tense, hungry
Like most of Angola's government-controlled provincial
capitals, Huambo some 500 km southeast of the capital Luanda,
is under siege, cut off from the outside world by roads too
dangerous to use, minefields around its perimeter, and enemy
forces of the UNITA rebel movement led by Jonas Savimbi as
close as 30 km away.
Wandering around these ruins it is difficult to tell who is a
local resident and who has fled here from recent fighting.
Huambo's estimated 300,000 residents have to share limited
resources with tens of thousands seeking shelter. The town's
plight is symptomatic of much of the rest of Angola. Francesco
Strippoli, the UN humanitarian coordinator and WFP
representative in Angola, said that since April last year,
over 600,000 people had been displaced around the country and
that their number was now bound to increase. The war in
Angola resumed with renewed fighting last December which
scuppered the UN-brokered Lusaka Protocol peace accords.
"I am extremely pessimistic because the country continues to
be affected by fighting and new displacements," he said. "On
the other hand, we are not only concerned about people who
have been displaced, but by the situation of the general
population at large in cities under siege."
According to UN officials in Angola, humanitarian agencies do
not have access to half the country and it has been difficult
to provide a complete breakdown of the suffering. But OCHA
figures, submitted to the Security Council over recent
months, estimate that some 30 percent of the country's
population do not have access to safe drinking water; about
40 percent of the population has no access to health services
and only six percent of the eligible population finish the
UNICEF figures show that Angolans experience an under-five
mortality rate of nearly 30 percent, and a maternal mortality
rate of 1,280 per 100,000 live births which it says "are
among the worst in the world".
In recent days, there were reports that the government was
preparing to attack Savimbi's stronghold in Bailundo just 80
km to the north of Huambo. It is feared that would in a
further influx of people. People were entering after fighting
in Longonjo, 80 km to the west, and Ekunha, just 40 km
northwest of the town. Many of them looked hungry and the
UCAH representative said one of her biggest concerns was
growing malnutrition. At Caala, just 20 km away, there are
Every evening, after the 6 p.m. night curfew starts, shooting
can be heard, and soldiers man checkpoints around town in
case UNITA rebels try to infiltrate with the IDPs.
"This situation in Huambo is horrendous and it is as tense as
anything," said the local representative of the UN
Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit (UCAH). "The
ordinary residents here are now as vulnerable as the
internally displaced people (IDPs) of whom we have counted
80,000 but whose numbers are believed closer to 120,000. And
because we cannot get here by road, all emergency relief
supplies have to be flown in at huge cost."
This week marks the first time in a decade that UN observers
and peacekeepers are no longer operating in Angola. The
Angolan government asked the UN not to renew the mandate of
the UN Observer Mission in Angola which ceased operations on
26 February. The UN humanitarian community and NGOs have been
told they can remain.
But it means that the international community can no longer
monitor the crisis in Huambo and elsewhere, let alone assist
humanitarian workers as it has done in the past. With
security deteriorating, it spells difficult times for the
NGOs working with UN agencies to bring relief.
Just outside the city, in the derelict Sao Pedro factory belt,
people are cleaning a series of warehouses in a food-for-work
programme. Swiss Humanitarian Aid is helping divide large
halls into family units and providing roofing material;
Development Workshop of Canada is seeing to water and
sanitation installations; CONCERN has hired carpenters and
masons; Save the Children and UNICEF are providing non-food
items. Other NGOs from Europe, the United States and Angola
itself are working closely with the city's deputy governor.
But even though he visits the site twice daily to see how work
is progressing, the influx of IDPs grows daily.
"It is a model of cooperation, and the government has gone out
of its way to help us, allowing the nearby land to be divided
up for planting," said the UCAH representative. "Unlike some
other places in Angola, the army has not requisitioned any
aid agency vehicles. But we have to be constantly on the
alert - a day or two ago Halo Trust removed two mines right
where people were working in Sao Pedro."
During a visit by IRIN to Huambo aboard a small aircraft
taking demining experts to the area, shooting broke out at
the airport. It served as a reminder that it was here, the
day after Christmas Day, when a UN Hercules C-130 transport
plane with 14 MONUA personnel aboard was shot down. Another,
with nine UN staff aboard, was brought down on 2 January.
The government and UNITA blamed each other for the shootings,
and the UN has so far only been allowed to conduct a
preliminary visit to each site. In its latest resolution on
Angola last week, the UN Security Council expressed its "deep
concern" at the lack of progress in the investigation "and the
loss under suspicious circumstances of other commercial
aircraft over UNITA controlled areas, and reiterates its call
upon all concerned, especially UNITA, to cooperate fully
with, and to facilitate, an immediate and objective
international investigation of these incidents".
With the observers no longer operating, Strippoli said: "We
are now following the situation in this country with the view
that every Angolan deserves the right to aid." He warned that
given the serious deterioration in security conditions
necessitating delivery of food and other supplies by air to
Huambo and elsewhere, the cost of transport and other
logistics was bound to increase.
By the end of this month, he said, there would be a revised
appeal for Angola. "We cannot wait too long for a donor
response. We need it quickly and a timely response is very
important if we are not to curtail our operations," Strippoli
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 6, Vol. V
26th February 1999
[excerpts; full text can be found at
MONUA mandate expires
The UN Security Council is to vote on 26 February not to renew
the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola,
MONUA, when it expires on that date. This follows the bleak
assessment of the prospects for peace by the UN Secretary
General in his report to the UN Security Council on 17
Since this time, the UN Security Council has been considering
the options for the future of the United Nations operations
in Angola. The Security Council had wanted to maintain a
"multidisciplinary presence" in Angola, but the Angolan
government is only prepared to accept a much narrower mandate
for UN operations. The Angolan government has held MONUA at
least partially responsible for the failure of the Lusaka
Protocol, in particular for not holding UNITA to its
obligation to disarm and demilitarise.
The United Nations is to keep its vital humanitarian operation
in Angola, and will maintain a human rights component. The
UNDP is to continue to give training and technical assistance
to the Angolan government. However, the Angolan government has
not allowed the UN to keep a military component, nor to have
a Special Representative of the UN Secretary General based in
the country. The most likely result will be that a Special
Representative will be appointed, but based in New York.
A second resolution will have to be passed in the UN Security
Council to set up the "follow-up configuration of the UN
presence in Angola".
The United Nations wants to keep a door open so that if, as
many western governments think likely, the fighting between
the Angolan army and UNITA eventually becomes deadlocked,
then the UN will be available to help with any future
However, in a letter to the UN Secretary General on 11
February, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said that,
"objectively, the Angolan Government simply considers that
the conditions no longer exist to maintain the presence of
MONUA in Angola, in whatever form, since Mr Jonas Savimbi -
who had already been jeopardising the Lusaka Protocol in the
second half of 1998, through small-scale military actions and
other acts preventing its normal implementation - finally
broke with it in December last year by resuming large-scale
warfare and extending it to almost all the national
Sanctions to be tightened
The UN Security Council has endorsed a report by the UN
Sanctions Committee, which has called for a tightening of
sanctions imposed upon UNITA.
The Sanctions Committee met on 26 January, and subsequently
prepared a report for the Security Council, outlining ways in
which sanctions could be improved.
Importantly, the Committee supported the commissioning of an
expert study on possible ways of tracing violations of the
measures on arms trafficking, oil supply, diamond trade and
the movement of UNITA funds.
The Sanctions Committee is awaiting a report from the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the INTELSAT
agency before reporting on possible sanctions on UNITA's
Analysts have pointed out that the Angolan government has much
to do to tighten the embargoes, including taking action
against government officials who have been involved in
One major problem facing the Sanctions Committee is that it
relies on information provided by member states. It is
unlikely that a member state will highlight its failures.
Charmian Gooch of Global Witness, who produced a recent report
on UNITA's illegal diamond trade, broadly welcomed the report
but called on the United Nations to "name and shame" those
countries which continually fail to implement the embargo
despite having the revenue and infrastructure to take action.
President reshuffles government
On 29 January President Jose Eduardo dos Santos removed the
Prime Minister and the Ministers for defence, finance, home
and foreign affairs, and named a new cabinet.
The popular general, Kundi Payhama, the former governor of
Huila province, was made Minister of Defence replacing
General Pedro Sebastiao.
Joao Bernardo de Miranda was promoted to Foreign Minister. He
had been deputy to the outgoing Foreign Minister Venancio de
Moura who is ill.
The government-recognised UNITA, led by Euginio Manuvakola,
continues to hold four cabinet posts, and other junior
parties in the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation
keep their ministerial posts.
Mbanza Congo recapture highlights war propoganda
UNITA has failed to make sweeping gains in Angola, despite
catching the government army, FAA, off guard with its
ferocious attacks in December. FAA has recovered ground,
though this may be at the price of leaving its allies in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, vulnerable.
The recent fighting over the provincial capital of the
northwestern province of Zaire, Mbanza Congo, has highlighted
the difficulties in making the distinction between reality
UNITA took the town on 26 January after fierce fighting.
Regional analysts warned that this UNITA victory was a threat
to the oil town of Soyo on the coast. However, the Angolan
government reported on 12 February that its army, FAA, had
retaken the town after further fierce fighting. The
state-owned television channel, TPA, showed the recaptured
town, and FAA commander General Joao de Matos is reported to
have visited it.
The recapture of the town is a major morale boost for FAA, who
have had several reverses on the battlefield recently. It is
rumoured that FAA withdrew one of its crack units from the
Democratic Republic of Congo to retake the town. Despite the
adamant assertion by the government that Mbanza Congo has been
returned to state control, some diplomatic sources simply
state that they do not know who controls the town.
Two of Jonas Savimbi's most senior aides, UNITA Secretary
General Paulo Lukamba "Gato" and General Alcides Sakala have
flatly rejected that they have lost Mbanza Congo. Alcides
Sakala told Reuters that: "it is not true. It is again cheap
propaganda with the aim of raising the morale of the army.
They (government forces) are facing a lot of problems. They
have not even tried to attack Mbanza Congo so far". ...
South African and British companies accused
Whilst Uganda and Zambia have been accused of being
trans-shipment centres for weapons to UNITA, there are
allegations that South Africans are behind the arms deals.
On 19 February the London-based publication, Southscan,
claimed that Uganda and the DRC had been used as transit
routes by South African arms dealers selling Russian-made
T-62 tanks, D-30 medium-range field howitzers and South
African made G-6 howitzers, to UNITA.
The T-62 is a more modern tank than the T-55, which went out
of production in eastern Europe in 1981. Analysts doubt that
UNITA have G-6 howitzers although it is thought that they
have the older G-5 system.
The British Observer newspaper reported on 31 January that the
British company, Air Atlantic Cargo, is suspected of having
shipped arms to UNITA. A Boeing 707 aircraft was spotted at
Pointe Noire in Congo-Brazzaville, from which UNITA troops
unloaded "military looking" crates.
UNITA has clearly been buying large quantities of arms over
several years to build up a formidable arsenal. Recent UNITA
defectors and prisoners have said that UNITA began to re-arm
in earnest in 1996. This was confirmed by Colonel Boaventura
Chingundo, a senior UNITA officer captured during fighting in
Cunhinga, Bie Province. He said that Zaire (now the Democratic
Republic of Congo), and South Africa had been transit points
for arms to UNITA.
On top of this, the rebel movement did not disarm, despite
this being an obligation under the Lusaka Protocol (see APM
One vital resource UNITA will need regularly to replenish is
oil products. Many of UNITA's most powerful and destructive
weaponry is either mounted or towed on vehicles. If as some
experts believe, this war is to become one of attrition, then
stopping oil supplies to UNITA will become a priority for the
Food crisis looms
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) put out a special
alert on 18 February warning that the food outlook in Angola
was increasingly bleak.
Despite good rains, food production is expected to be
inadequate due to intense fighting in the major crop growing
areas of the country. Many farmers have abandoned their land
to join the large number of recently internally displaced
people, who number over 500,000.
The report states that there is an urgent need for the
international community to do everything possible to ensure
that adequate humanitarian assistance is provided.
The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Humanitarian
Assistance Coordination Unit (UCAH) have reported that the
situation in Cuito is improving, with some people returning
to their homes, but that the situation in Malanje is
In Malanje UCAH report that 104,850 internally displaced
people are crammed into the city following fighting in the
countryside. The city is still being bombarded by UNITA which
is making relief operations more difficult.
The cost of running the humanitarian aid programme is
increasing and UN agencies are appealing for more money. The
WFP urgently needs another 19,950 metric tons on top of its
original appeal, and it needs an additional $9.5 million to
cover the cost of its airlift operations. UNICEF has appealed
for an extra $1 million for its immunisation programme, and an
extra $1 million for the airlifting of non-food supplies. The
World Health Organisation has warned of the increased risks
of epidemics and malnutrition and has also appealed for extra
funding to continue its early warning and information
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