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Note: 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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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, 12

Angola: Peace Monitor, V, 12
Date Distributed (ymd): 990905
Document reposted by APIC

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

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This issue of the Angolan Peace Monitor reports on the ongoing war and humanitarian crisis which the Food and Agriculture Organization characterizes as the worst crisis of the 16 African countries currently receiving emergency food aid.

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Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no.12, Vol. V 3 September 1999

Two hundred people die every day, says UN

The United Nations has warned of the critical condition of the two million Angolans who have fled their homes and who are now suffering from a lack of food, medicines, shelter and arable land. The UN continues to hold the rebel movement UNITA responsible for the war, and is calling on the international community to provide aid to meet the crisis.

The President of the UN Security Council on 24 August released a statement (S/PRST/1999/26) in which the Security Council "reiterates that the primary cause of the current crisis in Angola is the failure of the leadership of UNITA to comply with its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol, and again demands that UNITA comply immediately and without conditions with its obligations to demilitarise and permit the extension of State administration to areas under its control".

The statement urged "both parties to ensure full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. In this connection, the Council urges UNITA to cease committing atrocities, including killing civilians and attacking humanitarian aid workers".

Humanitarian conditions in Angola have continued to deteriorate, with estimates from the United Nations that two hundred people are dying every day as a result of hunger, sickness and war. Little is known of what is happening in UNITA-held areas, but the focus remains on getting supplies through to the major cities of Huambo, Cuito and Malanje. Figures released on 17 August from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UCAH) show that in Huambo there are now more than 175,000 displaced people, in Cuito 72,810, and in Malanje 134,724.

Malanje is considered the worst-hit, and the Angolan government has declared it a "humanitarian disaster area". Malnutrition in the city is estimated by the United Nations to have reached 30 per cent. Local residents are suffering as severely as the displaced people. Humanitarian agencies have been struggling to get their emergency aid into the city, which is sporadically under fire from UNITA's heavy artillery. According to Jane Standley, filing a rare television report from Malanje for the BBC on 24 August, the city has been shelled nearly every day this year.

On 28 July UNITA fired ten shells on Malanje, killing four and wounding six. Another four people died on 27 July when a car belonging to the respected Angolan NGO ADRA was ambushed on the road linking Malanje with Cacuso.

According to the Bishop of Malanje, Luis Maria de Onraita, quoted on 14 August in the British newspaper, The Independent, "local food stocks are exhausted. People cannot get out of the city to their fields. If international donors do not help these people they are all condemned to death". In the same article, Medecins sans Frontieres estimates that half of Malanje's 100,000 children are malnourished, with a quarter of these suffering from severe malnutrition.

On 31 July the UN's World Food Programme managed to get 240 tonnes of food into the city. The supplies were brought by seven trucks, and the drivers received a heroes welcome for risking their lives. This was the first delivery since the end of May. The WFP planned to transport a further 2,200 tonnes of food by the end of August. During the week 6-13 August they delivered a further 800 tonnes. Approximately 2,200 tonnes of food are required monthly to meet Malanje's needs.

The planting season for the next harvest is due to take place in September and October. However, hundreds of thousands of small-scale farmers have been forced to flee their land due to UNITA attacks. There is a severe shortage of land in secure areas, and a lack of seeds and tools. A poor harvest will intensify the problems faced by Angola.

Three million Angolans remain inaccessible to the humanitarian agencies, many of these living in areas under the control of UNITA. Many thousands of these continue to flee to government-controlled areas.

International community responds to worst crisis in Africa

The international humanitarian organisations active in Angola have been striving to meet the ever increasing demands. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation has stated that Angola has the worst problems of 16 countries receiving emergency food aid.

On 22 July in Geneva the United Nations relaunched its 1999 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Angola in response to the worsening situation (see APM no.11 vol.V). The appeal was increased from $66 million to just under $106 million, split between nine different UN organisations as follows (in US$):

Organisation  Original     Revised    Pledges       % needs

FAO          1,692,5 00    6,414,000  0              0.0
IOM          3,807,000     0          0              0.0
OHCHR        1,100,200     550,000    0              0.0
UNDP         4,785,250     2,650,500  476,191        18.0
UNHCR        4,830,732     4,830,732  996,662        41.3
UNICEF       14,900,000    17,800,000 3,900,226      21.9
WHO          943,400       943,000    142,653        15.1
WFP          31,162,250    69,344,938 30,444,814     43.9

Total        66,665,852    105,978,190 39,070,506     37.8%

By mid-July total humanitarian assistance to Angola in 1999 by donor was as follows:

Donor              Total US$        % of funding

USA                20,178,986         33.89
Sweden              9,191,161         15.44
Netherlands         4,839,964          8.13
Germany             4,594,236          7.72
France              3,223,788          5.41
Switzerland         2,564,245          4.31
Britain             1,989,378          3.34
Norway              1,640,875          2.76
Canada              1,636,802          2.75
Denmark             1,610,797          2.71
Others              8,075,487         13.56

The WFP announced on 20 August that the US had promised a further donation of $13.5 million for its work in Angola, to pay for the delivery and transportation of 19,000 tonnes of food. This donation will make up more than a third of the total needed by the WFP in 1999.

According to the WFP Representative in Angola, Francesco Strippoli, "this is the first substantial response to the new appeal and we hope that it will encourage other donors to contribute the remaining two-thirds of the requirement within the next few weeks".

ICRC launches appeal

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 11 August launched an appeal to raise US $28 million for Angola. When added to its other Angola programmes, the total budget is over $36 million, making it their third largest programme in Africa.

The British NGO Oxfam has announced that it needs to triple its water and sanitation projects in Huambo, Malanje and Cuito, which will cost a further 1.2 million. Oxfam hopes to raise the funds from institutional donors such as the European Union or the British government's Department for International Development.

A spokesperson for Oxfam, Matthew Granger, praised the international community for "moving mountains" in its relief efforts in Kosovo, but called for a similar response for Angola.

His view was echoed in Angola by the UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who said on 16 August that, "I was concerned that the very high level of attention and solidarity towards Kosovo inevitably would distract capitals, ministries of finance, and therefore resources, from crises elsewhere in the world. I hope I was wrong, but we will tell in the next few months."

Congo peace deal signed

On 31 August the main rebel movements in the Democratic Republic of Congo signed the peace accord aimed at ending that country's war.

The peace accord states that observers from the Organisation of African Unity will be deployed within 30 days, with a UN peacekeeping mission following within months.

There are still major doubts as to whether the peace agreement will hold, but one of the key elements in the accord is the disarming of all armed militias in the country. This may pose a threat to rebel soldiers from UNITA, who operate over the porous border with Angola. Another key element of the accord is the withdrawal of foreign troops, which should end the Angolan army's role in the country.

Oil price rises boost government finances

The recent increases in oil prices, which at their worst dropped to around $9 a barrel, have given the Angolan government a huge boost in income. The vast majority of the government's income comes from oil revenues, and with prices now around $20 a barrel the Angolan government has substantial extra resources to boost its military capacity.

On 6 August the Angolan Council of Ministers met and announced an increase in the national budget of 31.1 percent. It was also announced that $20 million was to be made available for humanitarian relief, half of which was earmarked for food. The first tranche of money will be $3 million for the purchase of farming equipment. The meeting also approved the purchase of two IL-76 cargo aircraft for the national airline TAAG.

The Council of Ministers has also agreed to create a social and economic development fund in an attempt to relaunch the economy, with $150 million at its disposal.

Military situation boils

During the month of August UNITA stepped up its attacks on small towns and villages throughout the country, resulting in many deaths and thousands of people fleeing to the provincial capitals. However, there is no sign that the government army has been able to respond to the attacks.

UNITA has claimed that it is holding territory within 50 kilometers of Luanda. In recent weeks there have been reports of attacks by UNITA on the towns of Caxito and Catete.

Fighting is increasing in Benguela province, and around 30,000 people have recently fled to the town of Cubal. It was reported that UNITA had shelled the town of Balombo on 16 August and destroyed a strategic bridge, cutting road access from Benguela to Cubal and Ganda, and to Huambo. Thirteen people were reported to have been killed and 12 injured on the same road.

Reports state that heavy fighting in Uige Province has led to thousands of people fleeing to Uige city. The UN reports that a large number of people are fleeing fighting around Sanza Pombo.

In Huila province, a road bridge linking Matala and Kuvango was destroyed. There have also been recent reports of guerilla units moving towards Lubango from the UNITA held towns of Kubango, Chipido and Chicomba. Rebels are also said to have seized the town of Jamba in the same province.

The Namibian government has confirmed that it has arrested seven UNITA soldiers in the Caprivi Strip, where they are alleged to have been fighting with a local separatist movement.

Another suspected UNITA atrocity was uncovered in Angola in August. About 100 bodies were found dumped in four wells in the Chipeta region of Bie province near Cuito. The area had reportedly been under the control of UNITA until a couple of months ago when the Angolan army retook the area.

There is still no sign of the expected dry-season offensive by government forces. With the rains due to start in September/October, it is clear that the government has not yet prepared itself for large scale battles with UNITA's forces. Military supplies are still being flown into Huambo, reports say.

IMF visits Angola again

An International Monetary Fund mission arrived in Angola on 31 August to assess the implementation of the latest economic reforms. The ten-day trip by a technical mission is led by Paul Newhouse, who visited Angola in April. Negotiations are underway to create a staff-monitored macro-economic programme which could, if successful, open the door for IMF-sponsored debt restructuring.

Particular problems have stood in the way of previous attempts to get international backing for restructuring Angola's debt - now standing at an estimated $13 billion. In particular, exchange rate policy and transparency in oil revenues have posed obstacles to IMF participation in the country. However, the current Finance Minister, Joaquim David, and the Governor of the Bank of Angola, Aguinaldo Jaime, have an increasingly high reputation in financial circles for their handling of the recent financial crisis which saw the government's budget shrink by a third in a short space of time as oil prices plummeted. The two visited the World Bank and the IMF in Washington in May.

Civil society initiatives continue

One of the leading supporters of the "peace manifesto" launched on 15 July (see APM no.11 vol.V) spoke at a meeting organised by the British-Angola Forum at the Royal Institute of International Affairs on 26 August at Chatham House. Marques is one of the founding members of the Angolan Group of Reflection for Peace - GARP.

During his address, Marques claimed that "the Lusaka Peace Protocol was drafted by Alioune Blondin Beye and the Portuguese Ambassador, and was a pre-arranged deal by foreigners". He spoke of the need for Angolan civil society to open dialogue with the Government and Jonas Savimbi's UNITA.

UN to open new office in Angola

The UN has announced that it is to open a liaison office in Luanda comprised of 30 people. In a letter to the UN Security Council on 11 August the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, wrote that the new office is being established "with a view to exploring effective measures for restoring peace".

A Security Council resolution authorising the mission is expected to be approved after 23 September.

SADC offers non-military support

Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 19 August pledged greater political and non-military support to the government of Angola, but stopped short of the fuller military intervention predicted by some.

SADC leaders denounced Jonas Savimbi and declared that he had "ceased to be a viable interlocutor to the solution of the Angolan conflict", backing the Angolan government position that there is nothing left to negotiate with Savimbi. The Angolan president's spokesperson, Aldemiro Vas da Conceicao expressed this view on 27 August, stating the government's resolve to keep to the Lusaka Protocol but "with the exclusion of Jonas Savimbi".

Jonas Savimbi offers negotiations

Jonas Savimbi has given his first interviews in several months to reporters from the BBC and Voice of America on 16 August, during which he called for new negotiations with the government.

During the BBC World Service interview he claimed that "there is no humanitarian catastrophe in Angola, it has all been invented by the Luanda government to extort food out of the international community".

UNITA's position on the Lusaka Protocol was expanded on during an interview given by Alcides Sakala to Reuters on 31 August. He said that "UNITA is ready to talk to Dos Santos so that we can discuss our differences. But Lusaka is dead, completely dead. We would have to begin from a new reality according to the situation on the ground today."

Sanctions panels created

The two expert panels appointed to look at UN sanctions against UNITA met for the first time on 26 August in New York. The Chairman of the UN Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Robert Fowler, said that the creation of the panels would significantly improve the committee's ability to limit UNITA's capacity to make war.

The UN has estimated that UNITA has sold between $3 and $4 billion worth of diamonds since it returned to war in 1992, and has bought sophisticated weaponry with the income.

The first panel will be made up of six experts investigating UNITA's revenue and their source of petroleum supplies. The second panel, with four experts, will look at sources of military support for UNITA.

The Swedish Ambassador to the UN, Anders Mollander, will chair both panels, whilst Botswana's Colonel Otisitswe Broza Tiroyamodimo will be the vice-chair.

Panel members include Stanlake Samkange of Zimbabwe; George McKay, Namibia's chief detective inspector with the Ministry of Mines and Energy; Olivier Valles from France; Benny Lombard, a small arms expert from South Africa; and Melvin Holt, an Interpol agent from the United States.

The panel is to submit its first report to the Security Council by the end of September.

Aircraft impounded in Zambia

There have been conflicting reports over a cargo plane impounded at Lusaka Airport, with allegations that it was part of a UNITA smuggling operation. The crew of nine Ukrainians and one South African is being questioned over the allegations that the plane was breaking UN sanctions.

Some reports emanating from the Zambian authorities state that the plane was empty and en route to South Africa to pick up oil products for UNITA. However, other sources have claimed that the aircraft was laden with arms from the Ukraine, and suggest that the crew have not been arrested.

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,
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 individuals.

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