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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, V, 11

Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 11
Date Distributed (ymd): 990728
Document reposted by APIC

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

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
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 Africa ( 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 ( http://www.afsc.org/angola/manifesto.htm)

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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 requested.

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, and Luena.

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 general population.

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 central highlands.

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 Commission.

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 12 July.

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 investigation.

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, e-mail actsa@geo2.poptel.org.uk,
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 individuals.

URL for this file: http://www.africafocus.org/docs99/ang9907.php