UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
ANGOLA: Aid flights suspended after crash
JOHANNESBURG, 28 December (IRIN) - WFP aid flights carrying food to thousands of displaced people in Angola's central highlands have been suspended until officials get more information on what caused a UN transport plane carrying 14 people to crash near the town of Huambo on Saturday.
A WFP spokeswoman told IRIN that food delivery flights to tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering in the city were being called off at least until Wednesday as a precautionary measure until more was known about the crash. The aid flights had only resumed last week because of heavy fighting in the area between government forces and the UNITA opposition movement.
Within hours of the crash, the government in a radio broadcast monitored by the BBC, blamed UNITA for shooting down the aircraft, a Hercules C-130 carrying UN observers to the town of Saurimo in northeast Angola. The UN observer mission in Luanda called for an immediate 48-hour ceasefire so that rescue teams could search for any survivors and establish the cause of the crash. However, attempts to find the wreckage were being hampered by continued fighting in the area.
Analysts said that even if the fighting abated, the
search and rescue mission would be made difficult by
heavy rains and the presence of landmines in the crash
zone, believed to be near Vila Nova, some 25 km outside
The crash raised fresh concerns for tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering in Huambo, and in the town of Kuito, in Bie province 120 km to the northeast, where media reports cited fresh shelling on Friday after a brief lull last week. Kuito airport has been closed since an Angolan government plane was shot down two weeks ago.
Huambo and Bie provinces have been at the centre of fierce fighting between UNITA and government forces since early this month marking the collapse of the UN-brokered Lusaka Protocol peace accord signed in 1994.
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 12:18:11 +0200 (SAST) From: IRIN - Southern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: ANGOLA: Aid flights suspended after crash 1998.12.28
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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