ANGOLA: Thousands flee fighting 1998.12.15

ANGOLA: Thousands flee fighting 1998.12.15

ANGOLA: Thousands flee fighting

JOHANNESBURG, 15 December (IRIN) - An estimated 25,000 people fleeing heavy fighting were cramming the town of Huambo this week creating a new humanitarian crisis in Angola's central highlands. A spokesman for the UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit (UCAH) described the situation as "very bad".

He said that as government forces and UNITA rebels fought running battles now within 30 or 40 km of the town, "thousands of people are streaming in and simply camping in the streets".

He said that it would probably be some days before assistance could be delivered because humanitarian agencies, after evacuating most of their staff as a precautionary measure, now found themselves in a situation where only 25 international emergency personnel with a few local staff were working around the clock to provide relief.

In Kuito, some 120 km northeast of Huambo, from where humanitarian staff were also withdrawn, officials contacted by IRIN reported that there was now a battle for control of the town itself. They confirmed an official statement that an Antonov An-12 cargo aircraft leased to the Angolan government had been shot down on Monday, probably by UNITA forces, shortly after it had taken off. It was brought down in the Cunhinga area 30 km outside Kuito. The government statement said the crew of five Ukrainians and five passengers aboard had died.


Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:54:36 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Southern Africa <> Subject: ANGOLA: Thousands flee fighting 1998.12.15

Editor: Ali B. Dinar,