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Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 11
Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 11
Date Distributed (ymd): 990728
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
This issue of the Angola Peace Monitor notes the failure of
international response to appeals for additional contributions
for humanitarian programs in Angola and reports on continuing
stalemate in the war. It also mentions a new Manifesto for
Peace launched in mid-July by the Angolan Group of Reflection
of Peace (GARP). Two previous documents by the group were
distributed in the Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List
last month (http://www.africafocus.org/docs99/ang9906a.php).
Additional information is available online
on the web site of the Canadian Inter-Church Coalition on
http://www.web.net/~iccaf). The text of the manifesto
is now (7/2000) available instead on the site of the American
Friends Service Committee (
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 11, Vol. V 28th July 1999
[Note: the version of this issue distributed via the Africa
Policy Distribution List is slightly condensed from the full
version (available at http://www.anc.org.za/angola).]
UN criticises donor response to Angola crisis
The United Nations on 22 July in Geneva relaunched its 1999
Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola in response to
the serious deterioration in the situation. The appeal was
also relaunched because of a poor response by donors to the
original appeal. By mid-July pledges and contributions from
donors stood at $39 million, or 38% of the original amount
Aid agencies are portraying a very bleak picture of the
worsening situation in Angola as the rebel movement UNITA
continues to besiege major cities. People are now dying of
malnutrition-related diseases, and UN aid agencies are
warning that one in ten people face appalling conditions
unless international political leaders act quickly to provide
funding for emergency programmes. According to the United
Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(UCAH) "the international humanitarian community now fears
the worst for the Angolan people, considering the distressing
conditions in which thousands of civilians are plunged while
fleeing from shelling, harassment and looted or mined crops".
The UN estimates that there are nearly two million
war-affected people displaced or in besieged cities requiring
immediate assistance. This number does not include the
unknown number of people suffering in UNITA-held territory
that up until now have received no help.
The Executive Summary of the appeal is blunt: "in order to
save lives as the crisis worsens, the humanitarian community
must step up the provision of food aid, as well as urgent
public health and food security interventions that will
address the root causes of malnutrition". The main difference
between the original appeal and its update is that the focus
has shifted from a life-sustaining to a life-saving strategy.
The appeal has increased from $66 million to just under $106
million, with the World Food Programme (WFP) more than
doubling its original food aid request. The UN Children's
Fund (UNICEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
have also increased their requirements for certain projects
that specifically address the current emergency. ...
Relief agencies focus on supplies and transport
In its report covering the period 9 to 15 July UCAH stated
that, "in Huambo City, where shelling impeded humanitarian
deliveries for a long period, there is already clear evidence
of malnutrition among the population, and the daily life of
every single citizen is being seriously affected. Some
residents reaching the different paediatric and feeding
centres spread in some neighbourhoods inside or in the
vicinities of the town arrive just in time not to die.
Humanitarian workers providing emergency assistance have
witnessed with despair that some of these people were carrying
their babies who happened to die upon arrival or on the way
to the centres. Humanitarian food supplies are meagre and
only reaching the most vulnerable who succeed to go to the
nutritional centres supported by the international community
through NGOs or religious organisations".
WFP has a greatly increased food requirement due to the huge
rise in vulnerable people needing assistance, but a large
section of its new funding requirement is to cover the airlift
operation. In response to UNITA's constant attacks on
humanitarian aid convoys, WFP has since the beginning of the
year been forced to fly in supplies to the major cities. In
particular, WFP is seeking a further $5 million to provide
extra cargo flights to the besieged cities of Cuito, Huambo,
WFP is also running short of supplies, with low levels of
emergency food stocks in parts of the country. The
organisation complains of "a lack of donor support in
committing new resources for operations in the country". WFP
states that a combination of late food arrivals and the lack
of additional resources further hampers its activities. It
has only received 60,000 tonnes out of a total of 120,000
tonnes needed for 1999. This means it is covering only 60
percent of the estimated needs. The WFP has therefore been
concentrating on aiding the most vulnerable, including
children under five, pregnant women, the sick, elderly and
newly displaced people.
In response to a recent emergency appeal WFP received pledges
of 20,000 tonnes of food from the European Community, Germany
and France. However, by the time it arrives in Angola it will
probably be September.
WFP also warns that the people living in UNITA-controlled
areas are out of the reach of humanitarian assistance, and
that attempts to negotiate access for evaluation missions
have been denied by the government and UNITA.
The new three-month WFP emergency programme, due to start in
September and covering 800,000 people at a cost of $37.5
million, has not received any donor backing so far. WFP
"urges donors to respond immediately".
Situation will deteriorate rapidly
The bleak picture painted by the humanitarian organisations in
Angola is coupled with a stern warning that the situation
will deteriorate. Reports highlight that thousands of people
have missed the low-altitude planting season because they are
sheltering in government-held cities. It now looks certain
that the higher-altitude planting season, due to start in
September, will also be a disaster.
The relaunched appeal stresses that the growing number of
internally displaced people has resulted in serious
overcrowding in many areas, particularly in provincial
capitals. This has led to a deterioration for people from the
host communities. In response to this, the Common
Humanitarian Action Plan uses the level of vulnerability as
the main criteria for distributing aid, with women and
children being the priority. The appeal warns that high levels
of malnutrition are on the rise, particularly in children,
and that the risk of epidemics, aided by the lack of
sanitation and safe drinking water, are threatening the
The appeal warns that the situation will become more dramatic
in coming months because: people who have fled their homes,
and the residents of the host community, are running out of
supplies; there is less agricultural land around the besieged
cities; it is impossible to carry out the nacas(low land)
agricultural season near the safe havens.
In addition, a recent FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment
Mission concluded that the situation is expected to
deteriorate considerably in the medium term, if access to
land, seeds and tools is not made available for the next main
lavras (upland) planting season in September.
The appeal also warns that the international humanitarian
community's ability to distribute aid is being severely
hampered by the war. The deliberate targeting of aid workers
by UNITA has led to severe restrictions on where they can
operate, and the shelling of cities has even made
distribution by air patchy. The report points out that Malanje
airport was closed for over four months and Cuito airport was
closed twice for periods of up to six weeks.
Fighting brings more misery
The relaunched Consolidated Appeal aims to raise desperately
needed funds for supplies and transport, but it cannot
address the need for security. Supplies to the major cities
have been specifically blocked by UNITA, which has
deliberately targeted convoys by road and air.
Sources describe the military balance as generally static,
with the government's army, FAA, pushing the rebels back in
some areas. While official sources now seem to be playing
down previous talk of a major offensive, UNITA attacks on
cities - and response by government forces - continue. ...
The situation in Malanje is described by WFP as "dramatic"
because there have been no food deliveries there since May.
WFP warns that "two or three people per day are dying from
malnutrition-related diseases". WFP stocks in the city may
run out in mid-August. ...
US condemns UNITA attacks
The United States government has condemned UNITA for killing
civilians during an attack on Catete on 20 July, 45 miles
south of Luanda.
During the five-hour attack ten people were killed and several
others were reportedly kidnapped. It has been suggested that
the attack is part of an attempt to open a military front
near Luanda to draw military resources away from a planned
government campaign against UNITA-held territory in the
The US statement said "irrespective of UNITA's motives, we are
deeply disturbed that UNITA now finds it necessary to resort
to what essentially are political assassinations to advance
its military objectives. The United States Government
condemns such reckless targeting of civilians and urges all
parties to respect the rights of non-combatants and to refrain
from attacking civilians in pursuit of military gains".
The statement is part of a steady shift in US policy towards
Angola. Senior Angolan government officials, led by Vice
Minister of Foreign Relations, Jorge Chicoti, and including
Victor Lima and General Mario da Sa, visited the US at the
end of June. They met with officials in the US administration
as a first step to establishing a Bilateral Consultative
Meetings also took place with the Pentagon, looking at closer
military cooperation. It is understood that the United States
has given the go-ahead for MPRI to enter into negotiations
with the Angolan government. MPRI is a private American
company headed by very senior ex-US military officers, and
has worked with the Bosnian army dealing with training and the
supply of American armaments. A contract between MPRI and the
Angolan government would focus on training senior military
officers and providing strategic analyses. If MPRI do provide
support for the Angolan army, it would signal that the US
military establishment was firmly backing the Angolan army.
UNITA denies mass killings
UNITA has denied that it is responsible for killing up to a
hundred people in the town of Chipeta, 25km east of Cuito.
Four mass graves containing up to a hundred people were found
in the town by local people. The local authority blamed UNITA
for the massacre during its occupation of the area in March.
However, UNITA's representative in Italy, Adalberto da Costa
Junior, denied that UNITA was responsible in an interview with
the BBC. The discovery of the bodies follows the killing by
UNITA of 50 people in a market village south of Huambo city on
SADC to debate military backing for peace deal
Proposals for an Angolan peace deal backed by a military
guarantee from SADC nations looks likely to be on the agenda
for next month's SADC summit in Mozambique. This follows the
regionally brokered cease-fire agreement for the Democratic
Republic of Congo signed on 10 July in Lusaka.
A report by the UN news agency IRIN quotes a Zimbabwean
official as saying that there is growing consensus that "when
we talk of underwriting an Angolan settlement it is not just
in moral terms but in physical terms." The official warned
that Angola's cycle of peace agreements, broken by UNITA, had
to be stopped. SADC would aim for a fresh political accord
guaranteed by regional governments.
Under the Congo cease-fire agreement the DRC government and
its allies - Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe - have agreed with
Uganda and Rwanda - backers of the rebellion - to halt
military operations. The agreement states that a Joint
Military Commission (JMC) comprising of the protagonists will,
with help from the UN and the OAU, disarm groups in the DRC.
Specifically mentioned in this regard is UNITA, which has
many troops in the country. However, the agreement does not
make it at all clear how this could be done in practice.
Furthermore, since the Congolese rebels have so far refused to
agree to the cease-fire and Laurent Kabila has shown no sign
of making his government more inclusive, it is too early to
assess the implications of the DRC deal for Angola. Under the
agreement the Congolese rebels are to disarm, and along with
unarmed civilian groups are to begin up to six weeks of open
political negotiations to culminate in the setting up of a new
political dispensation in the DRC.
Senior commentators also doubt that consensus exists in SADC
over how to resolve the Angolan catastrophe. Relations
between the Angolan and South African governments are cold,
and worsened when the UNITA representative in the United
States, Jardo Muekalia, was invited to a South African
reception on 21 June to celebrate the inauguration of
President Thabo Mbeki. South Africa has stated that its
officials did not know of Muekalia's links with UNITA.
Despite its shortcomings, the DRC deal has given some fresh
impetus to regionally based approaches to conflict and
security - and helped push Angola higher up the SADC agenda.
Civil society peace moves
In Angola there have been attempts to stimulate a debate about
the need for peace. A "peace manifesto" was launched on 15
July and organisers are hoping to collect 10,000 signatures.
Among the 300 people signing the manifesto were the former
leader of the FNLA, Holden Roberto, UNITA deputy Abel
Chivukuvuku, and other prominent figures. The manifesto was
launched by the Protestant Church. Subsequently, the Catholic
Church launched its own "peace movement".
The leader of the Methodist Church, Bishop Emilio de
Carvalho, warned that new negotiations would be fruitless. He
told the AFP news agency that "we don't need negotiations.
There's no problem between Angolans that cannot be solved.
What we want is peace first. And we only hope that the peace
treaties of Bicesse and Lusaka will be implemented".
UN sanctions chair works on embargo
The chair of the UN Sanctions Committee on Angola, Ambassador
Robert Fowler, has spent July travelling in an effort to
tighten sanctions imposed upon UNITA for its failure to abide
by the Lusaka peace agreement.
Ambassador Fowler visited Britain at the beginning of July
where he met with British government officials and senior
members of De Beers. He also spoke at a meeting of the
British-Angola Forum at the Royal Institute of International
Affairs. The Canadian Ambassador announced at the meeting that
he would be shortly naming the members of the two expert
panels on how UNITA break sanctions. Sources suggest that the
panels have been given one million dollars for their six-month
During the meeting Ambassador Fowler made clear that it would
be very difficult to stop the 5-10 flights entering UNITA
territory every evening. However, he raised the possibility
of AWACs aircraft being used to monitor the flights as part
of an attempt to interdict the sanction busters. This would
require support from one of the "very few" countries
possessing AWACs - probably the United States.
Following his trip to Britain, Fowler visited the diamond
cutting centre of Antwerp, and was also due to visit Ukraine,
which has been accused of being a major supplier of arms to
UNITA. He attended the OAU summit in Algeria where it is
reported that he recommended the deployment of up to 40 UN
monitors in Southern Africa to help oversee the embargo. It
was reported by the South African paper Business Day that the
proposal was unanimously welcomed by the OAU summit.
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
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