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Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 9
Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 9
Date Distributed (ymd): 990602
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+ +economy/development+
This issue of the Angola Peace Monitor reports continued war
and escalating humanitarian crisis in Angola, as well as
limited new steps by the UN to investigate sanctions
violations by UNITA and by the Angolan government to address
the country's economic crisis.
Reminder: Africa Policy West Coast On-Line Poll on
USA Economic Relations with Africa,
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Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no.9, Vol. V
28th May 1999
WFP warns of growing hunger
The World Food Programme has warned that unless it receives
new stocks soon, food for the most needy in Angola will run
Speaking to the UN news agency IRIN, Francesco Strippoli, the
WFP representative in Angola, said that the international
community would soon face a new human tragedy in Africa if the
Angola crisis became another "forgotten emergency".
At the end of April the WFP appealed for $8.8 million to
charter cargo aircraft to fly food to areas cut off by the
fighting. It still has food stocks at the ports, but is
limited in its ability to fly food to the besieged cities.
According to the UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit
(UCAH), since the middle of last year 924,000 people have been
forced to flee their homes and were now dependent on aid. The
figure is rising as people arrive in Cuito Cuanavale and
Cuando Cubango from Moxico province.
In Malanje city, 400,000 people have been cut off by UNITA
rebels surrounding the city. The WFP is feeding 80,000 people.
Flights into the city have been limited due to sporadic but
intense bombardment by UNITA. Shelling of the city was halted
on 12 May, but began again on 19 May. A road is open to the
capital, Luanda, but has been subjected to many deadly
attacks. The WFP office is operated by Angolan staff with
international organisations having withdrawn their
The WFP has raised concerns that despite sending food to the
city, malnutrition has been growing. The WFP has suggested
that some of its stocks are being diverted away from the most
In Cuito city 61,000 people are sheltering from the fighting
around their homes, and food stocks are running out. In the
north of the country, Uige airport was opened for the first
time in six months, but the airport in Negage was closed for
Meanwhile, the situation in the southern area of Lubango is
deteriorating as 60,000 people have recently fled to the area.
According to the World Food Programme, unless replenished,
stocks are only enough for 60 days.
Dry-season escalation in fighting expected
Senior army officer Lt-Gen Jose Ribeiro Neco has given a bleak
picture of the military situation to the Angolan parliament,
the National Assembly, as signs of a dry-season government
offensive continue to grow.
Briefing parliament on 7 May, he said that the scale is tipped
in favour of Jonas Savimbi's forces, which he estimated to be
60,000 strong. He pointed out that UNITA is concentrating its
forces in the central highlands. Here UNITA is trying to
capture the cities of Huambo and Cuito.
The Lieutenant-General said that UNITA troops in the east of
the country aim to disrupt diamond production, and in the
north-west aim to disrupt the Soyo oil installation.
The officer said that the Angolan army is currently holding
defensive positions. Sources state that they will continue
with this strategy until new recruits are better trained and
until military hardware - which has been constantly arriving
in Angola - is in place.
The first training course of land forces in Cuanza Sul was
reported on 15 May. The 60 day course was part of the training
of new recruits prior to the much trailed major offensive
against UNITA planned for July/August.
Parliamentary delegation condemns Savimbi
A senior all-party Angolan parliamentary delegation visited
London in May on a tour organised by the Inter Parliamentary
Union (IPU). The delegation was headed by the speaker of the
National Assembly, Roberto de Almeida, and included senior
UNITA deputy Jaka Jamba.
During a meeting organised by the Angola Emergency Campaign
and hosted by Mike Gapes MP in the British House of Commons on
17 May, the delegation expressed their rejection of the return
to war by Jonas Savimbi.
UNITA veteran Jaka Jamba denounced Savimbi's decision to
dismiss the political path. However, he also stated that UNITA
deputies had not accepted the leadership of Euginio
Manuvakola, who was placed as leader of the UNITA
parliamentary group by the Speaker of the National Assembly
(see APM no5, vol.V). Jaka insisted that this in-fighting
between the majority of the UNITA parliamentary group and
UNITA-Renovada was not an unhealthy position, as there is more
than one trend in the UNITA parliamentary group, and that they
did not want to create another monolith nor another Savimbi.
According to Jaka Jamba, the delegation has been looking at
recent changes in the British constitution resulting in the
setting-up of the Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly. He
expressed interest in changing the Angolan constitution to
allow for a major devolution in power.
UN sets up expert panels to beat UNITA sanction busting
The UN Security Council on 7 May adopted Resolution 1237
(1999) which sets up expert panels to look at how UNITA is
breaking UN sanctions, and how the international community can
tighten the sanctions.
A preliminary report is to be presented to the Security
Council by 31 July, and the final report will be given by
Christmas. They will seek to identify who is helping UNITA to
break sanctions, and to recommend measures to end such
The Security Council expressed concern at continuing
sanctions-busting and has set up two expert panels.
The first will look at how UNITA funds its war machine - in
particular diamond smuggling, and how it gets petroleum
products. The banking structures of UNITA are also to be
The other expert panel will look at military support for
UNITA, including where the rebels get their weapons from, and
whether they use mercenaries. In a first step towards
tightening the sanctions the Chair of the UN Committee on
Sanctions, Ambassador Robert Fowler, has visited Southern
Africa. He met with Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
on 13 May, and then went on to visit South Africa where he met
with officials from the diamond company De Beers. The Canadian
ambassador also visited the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia, and is due to travel
to various European countries including Britain and Belgium.
It remains to be seen whether these reports will be made
public. On one hand, some officials argue that the publication
of the report may make the authors hold back from some of the
more sensitive political issues - such as the alleged
connivance of some government officials in Angola and Zambia.
On the other hand, to withhold the report would be against the
public interest, say campaign groups.
There continues to be serious legal constraints to the
implementation of sanctions. Senior UNITA members still
operate in Britain and France, despite being listed by the UN
as being people who should have their travel documents, visas
or residence permits cancelled.
Anibal Kandeya is still in Britain despite his visa running
out on 10 November 1997. Isaias Samakuva currently moves in
and out of France, reportedly on a diplomatic passport from
Tension continues between Angola and Zambia over allegations
that the latter has been heavily involved in sanctions
busting. However, a meeting between the two was held on 10 May
in Swaziland. Sources suggest that the meeting did not resolve
anything as Angola maintains that Zambia continues to be a
major supply route for UNITA, allegations denied by Zambia.
NATO hits Angolan embassy
The Angolan embassy in Belgrade was hit by a missile on 20
May. Damage was caused to the building, but there were on
casualties. The nearby Swedish embassy was hit during the same
Russian aircraft crashes, UNITA claims hostages
The United Nations Security Council has condemned UNITA for
shooting down a civilian Russian Antonov-26 aircraft near the
town of Luzamba in north-eastern Angola. UNITA has claimed
that it shot down the aircraft and was holding "three Russian
mercenaries", later named as Alexander Zaitsev, Serge
Tchesrokov, and Sergy Zaharov. Six Angolans were also on board
the aircraft, although there is no information on their fate.
There have since been reliable reports that the aircraft
crash-landed after developing engine problems on take-off from
A statement by the President of the UN Security Council
(S/PRST/1999/14) on 19 May 1999 said that the Security Council
"strongly condemns the criminal act by UNITA against
commercial aircraft, namely the shooting down of an Antonov-26
aircraft on 12 May 1999 near Luzamba and the taking hostage of
its Russian crew, while the fate of its Angolan passengers
remains unknown". The Council stressed that "UNITA and its
leader Mr. Jonas Savimbi carry full responsibility for their
UN investigates crashes
Ironically, whilst the United Nations has condemned UNITA for
shooting down the Antonov-26 (which may in fact have been an
accident), no condemnation has been made over the shooting
down of two World Food Programme aircraft just after Christmas
1998. The United Nations Security Council has shown signs that
it is getting impatient with the UN machinery over a delay in
investigations into three suspicious air crashes in which UN
personnel died. UN Security Council Resolution 1237 (1999) on
Angola S/RES/1237(1999), adopted on 7 May 1999, expressed
"concern at the delays in the investigations into the downing
on 26 December 1998 and 2 January 1999 of two aircraft
chartered by the United Nations and the loss under suspicious
circumstances of other commercial aircraft over
UNITA-controlled areas in Angola as well as the crash on 26
June 1998 in Cote d'Ivoire of the aircraft carrying the
Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Angola and
other United Nations personnel, and reiterates its call upon
all concerned to cooperate fully with and to facilitate an
immediate and objective international investigation of these
Unpublished preliminary findings on the plane crash which
killed UN envoy Alioune Blondin Beye suggest that there is no
evidence of foul play. However, there has been complete
silence on the shooting down of the two WFP aircraft, despite
widespread acceptance that UNITA was responsible. There has
also been no explanation of why experienced pilots were flying
from Huambo at such a low altitude.
Angola criticised over landmines
The Angolan government has been criticised by participants of
an international conference on landmines in Maputo,
Mozambique, at the beginning of May.
Conference participants noted that both the Angolan government
and UNITA were planting mines, but highlighted that Angola was
a signatory to the Ottawa treaty banning their use.
The Angolan government has claimed that it uses mines in a
defensive capacity, protecting cities from invasion by UNITA
forces. However, anti-landmine campaigners strongly reject
Efforts to bring economy out of crisis
The Angolan government's new economic team, appointed in
January, have taken steps to try and revive the ailing
economy. In May the team restructured over half a billion
dollars of the country's foreign debt, floated the national
currency, and appointed a new governing board of the state
diamond company, Endiama.
The economy took several devastating blows in 1998 including:
- oil prices dropping from over $18 a barrel to under $10
- the slide back into war which led the government to increase
the defence spending to 38% of the total budget
- farmers and their families left crops unharvested as they
fled to government controlled areas
- the government slashed its budget by a quarter in June 1998,
and a tight monetary policy left state workers without pay for
- widespread corruption led to further dislocations in the
The economic team have an uphill struggle. Whilst oil prices
have partially recovered, the war is far worse than in 1998.
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the fighting and are
crowded into the main cities including Luanda, Huambo, Cuito
and Malanje. This year's harvest is expected to be very poor,
and new military hardware currently being imported will cost
hundreds of millions of dollars.
The economic team have had a major success in borrowing $575
million from Warburg Dillon Read/Union Bank of Switzerland.
Most of the money is to pay off several other loans which were
previously taken at less favourable rates of interest. Only
about 5 percent of the loan is new money. The four year loan,
signed on 18 May, is backed by an oil sale contract between
the state owned oil company, Sonangol, and BP Oil
The government has publicly recognised that it has borrowed
about as much as it can on the international market. It is
estimated that Angola owes $12 billion, and that the money
from the sale of oil produced by Sonangol goes straight to the
Another big source of revenue for the government is signature
bonuses given by oil companies wishing to explore the Atlantic
for new oil reserves.
On 7 May the government approved the granting of prospecting
rights for Blocs 31,32 and 33 in deep water off the Angolan
coast. Block 31 was awarded to BP-Amaco (with a 40 percent
stake) along with Exxon, Marathon, Elf and Sonangol Bloc 32
was awarded to Elf (with a 30 percent stake) along with
Prodese, Sonangol, Exxon, Marathon and Petrogal. Bloc 33 was
awarded to Exxon (with a 45 percent stake) along with Elf,
Saxon Oil, Neaze, Petrogal and Sonangol.
The state oil company, Sonangol, is to have a 20 percent share
in all the blocs. It is estimated that the signature bonuses
for each of these was up to $300 million each, giving the
government around $900 million.
Diamond chief sacked amidst corruption investigation
The Chairman and Managing Director of the state diamond
company, Endiama, have been sacked following allegations that
the latter, Paulino Neto, was diverting diamond revenue and
diamonds. An investigation is underway to find out what
happened and whether any illegal activities took place.
A new board has been appointed, with General Agostinho Dias
Gaspar as its chairman,
In another move, the Governor of the Angolan National Bank,
Aguinaldo Jaime, is requiring diamond companies to deposit
funds for diamond sales in national banks.
Any policy changes in the diamond sector are not expected to
be reflected in a rapid increase in revenue as the diamond
producing areas under government control are under pressure
from Jonas Savimbi's UNITA forces. However, in the long-run a
more transparent diamond sector is one of the key requirements
for an International Monetary Fund structural adjustment
programme. This in turn would open the door for a thorough
restructuring of Angola's foreign debt.
Other steps to normalisation
The government has announced that it will stop fixing the rate
of the Angolan Kwanza against the US dollar. This will reduce
the value of the Kwanza at banks to the price available
through street sellers.
The large difference between the official exchange rate and
the parallel market has been blamed for a system of widespread
theft from the country through government officials buying
dollars at the official rate and selling them at the street
The government has also promised to make the late payment of
workers' wages a thing of the past. A huge domestic debt has
been built up by the government failing to pay civil servants
for several months. This in turn plays havoc with the national
market, with thousands left without money.
IMF and World Bank assured
These measures and others have persuaded the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank not to pull out of Angola.
The World Bank has placed a moratorium on new loans to Angola
until September, at which time reforms to the Angolan economy
will be evaluated.
Among other reforms promised by the Finance Minister, Joaquim
David, include the promise that the oil account will be
audited. Revenue from oil has been the source of huge
speculation as its use has been shrouded in secrecy. The World
Bank and the IMF have insisted that the oil account be audited
before any IMF programme could be agreed.
Minister David agreed to the IMF and World Bank demands for
auditing during a recent visit to their headquarters in
Pamphlet condemns Savimbi
Organisations within the Angola Emergency Campaign have just
published a 14-page pamphlet "Wanted for Murder - Jonas
Savimbi". It lays out the case for the setting up a UN
International Criminal Tribunal on Angola, to investigate and
indict Savimbi for crimes against humanity. Copies are
available at 1 pound each from PO Box 839, London NW1 7EF
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: http://www.anc.org.za/angola
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
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