Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!
Print this page
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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived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, VI, 3
Angola: Peace Monitor, VI, 3
Date Distributed (ymd): 991201
Document reposted by APIC
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+
Summary Contents: This issue of the Angola Peace Monitor
features news of increased military pressure against UNITA
within Angola, as well as increased international pressure to
In other recent developments, journalist Rafael Marques was
released on bail last week by the Angolan government. And a
delegation from Angolan civil society is currently in
Washington on a five country tour to highlight peacebuilding
opportunities. The delegation previously visited Namibia and
Canada, and will be going on to the Netherlands and the United
Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no. 3, Vol. VI 30th November 1999
Hunt for Savimbi intensifies as UNITA military capacity
The Angolan army, FAA, has continued to inflict military
defeats on Jonas Savimbi's UNITA movement, which is showing
growing signs of internal disintegration.
FAA's belief that Jonas Savimbi is still in Angola contradicts
rumours circulating that he has fled to either Uganda or
Rwanda following the routing of his army from his central
highland strongholds of Bailundo and Andulo. The head of FAA,
General Joao de Matos, told the television station TPA on 15
November that "we know where Savimbi is. We are tracking him,
we are bombarding him every day and we are going to keep
going until we capture him or kill him."
A senior source in Luanda has indicated that there was an
incident in Moxico province, when two South African-registered
helicopters were intercepted whilst on a mission to evacuate
Savimbi and his senior aides from the area. This incident has
not been confirmed, but would account for the confidence FAA
has that it has located Savimbi. FAA has surrounded a large
number of UNITA fighters in the Cazombo area of Moxico
province, and is reportedly bombarding the area with
artillery and jet bombers.
The Angolan army has continued to advance against other UNITA
positions. On 18 November the town of Cuangar in Cuando
Cubango province in the south of the country was retaken by
FAA, which states that 400 UNITA fighters posed little
resistance before surrendering. This one hour battle was
witnessed by Namibians living just across the border.
According to a report in the official news agency Angop, the
400 will be incorporated into FAA.
According to the state-owned Jornal de Angola the army is
preparing to launch an attack on the nearby town of Calai
which is said to be a warehouse for diamonds, ivory and timber
stolen by UNITA. FAA has also recaptured Lucusse and Lumbala
Nguimbo in Moxico province, and Macocola in Uige province.
According to FAA, by 3 November it had control of 13 out of 16
municipalities in Uige province.
General de Matos stated on 15 November that UNITA's
conventional military capacity had been disrupted by 80 per
cent. He appealed for Savimbi's followers to surrender,
stating that, "Those who lay down weapons and surrender will
be welcomed because we don't have visceral enemies. We don't
have enemies we can't reconcile with. The only one we will not
reconcile with is Savimbi. With all the rest, our arms are
open, our doors are open". UNITA still has a capacity to
inflict terror upon the civilian population. On 9 November
UNITA fired shells at Kuito, and the World Food Programme was
forced to suspend aid flights into the city for a day.
There have also been reports that UNITA is laying thousands of
mines. In one case, thirty people were injured when a truck
they were travelling in hit an anti-tank mine on 12 November.
The Angolan government has also faced international criticism
over FAA's laying of landmines.
Some of the increase in injuries caused by landmines may also
be due to heavy rains displacing previously laid mines, and
by people returning to rural areas following the removal of
UNITA from these areas.
Jonas Savimbi's internal control appears to be crumbling
following the series of military defeats inflicted by FAA
since it launched its counter-offensive in September. Several
key UNITA figures have defected to the Angolan government,
and there are reports that Jonas Savimbi has murdered other
On 10 November a senior UNITA General, Jacinto Bandua, gave
himself over to government forces. According to interviews
given by General Bandua, he joined UNITA in 1976, and was
appointed a general in 1993. He was Jonas Savimbi's
aide-de-camp and head of UNITA's logistics department (this
version of events was contradicted by Africa Analysis on 26
According to testimony from General Bandua given at a press
conference in Catumbela on 17 November, several leading
hardline Generals have been detained on the orders of
Savimbi, including General Altino Sapalalo Bock, General
Numa, General Antero Morias Vieira and General Armindo Tarzan.
The first three were allegedly arrested following their
failure to withstand the FAA counter-offensive, whilst General
Tarzan apparently came under suspicion. This version of
events was denied by Savimbi's spokesperson, Lukamba Paulo
"Gato", who rang the BBC Portuguese Service and placed General
Bock on the line, reported the London-based Africa Analysis.
According to sources in FAA, Brigadier Grito,
Lieutenant-Colonel Octavio and Major Quito Chingufo were also
under arrest. FAA states that the bodies of General Tarzan
and General Antero Morais Vieira were found in a mass grave
at the confluence of the Cuvale and Kunhinga rivers. Reports
state that General Bandua's close relative (either his
brother or cousin) General Fernando Elias Bandua, was also
found in the mass grave, although there is no independent
confirmation of this.
Another senior military defector is Lieutenant-Colonel
Marcolino Ngongo, a former bodyguard of Savimbi.
The effect of the disintegration of UNITA's military
structures was highlighted in an article by the UN news
agency IRIN on 19 November. Quoting a "Western diplomat with
access to a wide range of intelligence and political
reporting on Angola" the article stated that since the
government retook the central highland strongholds of Andulo
and Bailundo there has been "a considerable drop in radio
communications among UNITA units. They are almost silent now,
and this is an indication both of a crisis in the leadership
as well as the loss of communications equipment".
The diplomatic source continued that reports of a mass grave
containing the remains of some UNITA generals were "credible"
and that "we are getting reports that Savimbi is really
furious, that he is on a drunken binge again. This behaviour
lends further credibility to the interpretation we have that
he has suffered a major defeat. Another factor is that UNITA's
propaganda machine has been silent of late".
On the political front, Anibal Kandeya, the UNITA
representative in Britain, has returned to Angola, where he
has joined the anti-Savimbi faction, UNITA-Renovada. Mr
Kandeya's bank accounts in Britain have been frozen by the
Bank of England, and he left Britain prior to his appeal
against the decision of the British Home Office to expel him
from the country in line with UN sanctions against named
There have also been defections from inside Savimbi's family.
Savimbi's son, Araujo Domingos Sakaita, has returned to Angola
from Togo, and gave a lengthy interview in Jornal de Angola
on 2 November. In the interview he states that Savimbi is
responsible for the murder of his mother, and reveals links
between Savimbi and the heads of state of Togo, Burkina Faso,
Gabon and Cote D'Ivoire.
One of Savimbi's daughters, Airine Yondela Sakaita, has also
publicly come out against her father.
Britain targets Savimbi
Britain's Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office, Peter Hain, has made a watershed speech for British
policy, signalling that his Government is now targeting
governments, companies and individuals who are profiteering
from Jonas Savimbi's determination to continue the war in
Speaking in London on 20 November at the Annual Conference of
Action for Southern Africa, ACTSA, the Minister was candid
about the past failure of international policy towards
Angola. Peter Hain stressed that upon his appointment his
first decision was to prioritise Angola, and since then the
Government has put extra resources and diplomatic energy into
isolating and defeating UNITA.
He pointed out that the target is not the supporters of UNITA,
but Jonas Savimbi, and that "the blood of hundreds of
thousands of Angolans drip from his hands". He continued that
Savimbi is "as slippery as a snake. His word is worthless. So
I want to deliver a clear message to UNITA: get rid of
Savimbi as your leader - and quickly."
To push forward this policy, Hain revealed that three strands
were being actively promoted.
First, he had visited the United States to agree joint action
with President Clinton's Africa Secretary, Susan Rice, and has
also been to Paris to ask the French to join in more vigorous
Second, he warned that he was going to look into the sanctions
busting by countries, companies and individuals. The
information is to be passed on to the Chair of the UN
Sanctions Committee, Robert Fowler, and the transgressors
will be "named and shamed".
Third, the Minister welcomed the decision of De Beers to halt
the buying of Angolan diamonds, and called on other diamond
companies to follow suit, warning that otherwise they could
face consumer boycotts. He revealed that he has commissioned
a study on the viability of a global certification scheme to
help crack down on the illicit diamond trade. He warned that
any action must not threaten the diamond-reliant economies of
countries such as Namibia and Botswana, and promised to work
with them to regulate the diamond trade.
The British Government and the Bank of England has already
taken action against UNITA bank accounts, and the Minister
revealed that several have already been frozen. He promised
that "we must track down Savimbi's assets whether these are
secretly deposited in nearby West Africa or elsewhere".
International pressure on Savimbi increases
International action against Savimbi was stepped up in
November with both the Southern African Development
Community, SADC, and the Commonwealth making moves to
strengthen sanctions against the rebels.
SADC heads of state agreed on 14 November to speed up their
assistance programme to the Angolan government. The leaders
who met in the Western Cape, South Africa, were due to
discuss the matter for half an hour, but the meeting continued
for two and a half.
A source told SAPA that, "because Angola is not asking us to
come and fight there, the leaders feel we ought to be doing
more to help the government there. As a result they agreed
that a real, dynamic co-ordinated programme should be put in
place to deal with the Angolan government's humanitarian
The following day in Durban, South Africa, at the Commonwealth
Heads of Government Meeting, CHOGM, a communique was released
stating that the Commonwealth governments were gravely
concerned about the continued suffering of the people of
Angola due to UNITA's non-compliance with the Lusaka Protocol
and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
The communique urged the international community to "support
the work of the United Nations Security Council Sanctions
Committee on Angola".
In a separate move, the former President of South Africa,
Nelson Mandela, stated on 7 November that Jonas Savimbi would
never be welcome in South Africa.
Zimbabwe rejects allegations of military assistance
The Zimbabwean Minister of Defence, Moven Mahachi, has firmly
denied allegations that 2,000 crack troops from the
Commando's have been operating in Angola.
According to a report in the Zimbabwe Independent on 5
November, the troops are commanded by Brigadier General
Kachana, and have been in the country for four months.
Meanwhile, the South African Press Association reported on 15
November that the leader of the rebel Congolese Liberation
Movement (MLC), Jean-Pierre Bemba, has denied allegations by
President Laurent Kabila that UNITA has sent soldiers to the
Democratic Republic of Congo to fight alongside the MLC. He
said "we are not linked to UNITA...we ask Angola to send
observers to territory under our control so that they can
investigate these claims and see for themselves that they are
UN warns humanitarian situation will deteriorate
The United Nations has launched its Consolidated Inter-Agency
Appeal for Angola for the year 2000, with the warning that by
the middle of next year there will be more people in need of
assistance than at the end of 1999, with the agricultural
harvests in early 2000 expected to fall far short of
The 1999 Appeal was increased from $66 million to $106 million
in July due to the increase in aid needed in response to
UNITA laying siege to the major cities of Malange, Huambo and
Kuito. The UN considers that the "donor community responded
quickly to the revised Appeal requirements covering 71.7
percent, or $82,127,986 of the Appeal by 8 October 1999".
The 2000 Appeal has risen to $258,515,854, with by far the
largest chunk, $214 million, being earmarked for food
security. The Appeal hopes to raise $20 million for
nutrition, health, water and sanitation, and relief and
survival; $14 million for co-ordination, security and support
services; and $9 million for education and protection.
Humanitarian crisis continues
Around the country there continues to be a serious
humanitarian crisis. In the city of Huambo there are about
200,000 people reliant on food aid. In Huila province 823
newly displaced people registered at the beginning of
October, suffering from malnourishment, malaria, anaemia and
diarrhoea. A survey in the town of Matala in Huila province
by the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF-Spain) found that 13
percent of the population was close to death by starvation.
A recent survey in the city of Negage found a malnutrition
rate of 43 percent among newly displaced children, and the
number is increasing.
The situation in the city of Malange has eased slightly, with
malnutrition among children under five falling from 32
percent in June to 21 percent in September.
However, with fighting reaching new parts of the country, new
refugees are straining the resources of relief agencies.
According to a UNHCR official in Namibia on 29 November, 2,400
refugees have crossed into the country from Angola over the
previous ten days. The official called on the international
community to help sustain the UNHCR assistance.
There has been a similar influx across the Zambian border,
where according to the UNHCR 3,700 have crossed since 8
Government releases $20 million for displaced
The Angolan government announced on 9 November that it will
make $20 million available for seeds and logistics in an
attempt to get displaced people to grow their own food.
The announcement was made by Social Welfare Minister, Albino
Malungo. The government plans to release a further $34 million
for the period January - June 2000 for humanitarian
assistance, and $20 million for July to August 2000.
Agreement sought over role of UN
Discussions are continuing between the United Nations and the
Angolan government over the role of the recently approved
United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA), which was formed
following UN Security Council Resolution 1268 on 15 October.
According to a report on 3 November from the UN news agency
IRIN the Angolan government has rejected a political role for
the thirty member mission, and is insisting that it
concentrates on humanitarian assistance and the strengthening
of the government's human rights capacity.
However, Resolution 1268 states that the aim of UNOA is to
"liaise with the political, military, police and other
civilian authorities, with a view to exploring effective
measures for restoring peace, assisting the Angolan people in
the area of capacity-building, humanitarian assistance, the
promotion of human rights, and coordinating other activities".
Where the UN and the Angolan government do agree is the
continued importance of the Lusaka Protocol. The Angolan
government has rejected any attempt to renegotiate the Lusaka
Protocol, and states that it has carried out its obligations.
It has blamed both Jonas Savimbi and the UN for the failure to
disarm and demobilise the UNITA army.
Whilst the Government has appealed to UNITA members to carry
out national reconciliation, it has steadfastly rejected any
further talks with Jonas Savimbi.
New currency introduced
The Angolan government has decided to introduce a new currency
between 1 December 1999 and 31 May 2000. The Kwanza-KZ will
replace the Kwanza Readjustado (Kzr).
The new currency cuts six zeros off the Kzr, so five million
Kzr. will be replaced by five Kz.
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 international policy debates around
African issues, by concentrating on providing accessible
policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide
range of groups and individuals.