Angola: Peace Monitor, II. 6, 03/02/'96

Angola: Peace Monitor, II. 6, 03/02/'96

Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 6 Date Distributed (ymd): 960302

Angola Peace Monitor Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign Issue no.6, Volume II, 29 February 1996

United Nations signals impatience as it renews UNAVEM III

The United Nations Security Council on 8 February renewed the UNAVEM III mandate, but expressed its "deep concern at the slow pace of quartering and disarming" UNITA troops.

The Secretary General, Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali, had asked in his report to the Security Council (S/1996/75) for a six month extension to the mandate. However, the Security Council would only give a three month extension, and asked that the Secretary General report to them monthly rather than his preference of bi-monthly.

US Ambassador Madeleine Albright said that: "UNITA's poor performance under the peace protocol has jeopardised the peace process and undermined the viability of the peacekeeping mission". According to a report in Associated Press, the British Ambassador to the UN, John Weston, "praised the Government's steps to withdraw troops from offensive positions and to begin demobilising some of its forces". He went on to say that "there will be no excuse for UNITA's failure to quarter the 16,500 troops by 8 February".

The resolution called on UNITA to "conclude all quartering within the limit of this mandate renewal". However, it was not made clear what sanctions will be taken if UNITA fails to quarter its troops by May.

Growing anger

Statements made at the United Nations are a clear signal that the international community is growing increasingly frustrated by UNITA's lacklustre performance in implementing the Lusaka Protocol. The major stumbling block continues to be the slow pace of the confinement of UNITA's troops, though other substantial provisions of the Lusaka Protocol, such as freedom of movement, also remain unfulfilled.

The important moves by the Angolan Government in January, including the returning to base of its Rapid Intervention Force, the ending of the contract with the South African-based Executive Outcomes, and the withdrawal of troops from areas of high tension, have met the concerns of some western governments, in particular the United States.

This has put the focus onto UNITA, and in particular onto their leader, Jonas Savimbi, who gave personal assurances to the Chair of the UN Security Council, Madeleine Albright. Savimbi had pledged that UNITA would confine 16,500 troops by 8 February. However, on 23 February he admitted that only 16,342 soldiers had been quartered.

Quartering: poor quality and slowing pace

The force commander of UNAVEM III, Major General Philip Sibanda, has stated that the number of UNITA troops coming into the confinement camps fell from 1,000 per day just before the renewal of the UN mandate on 8 February, to just 300 per day afterwards. According to UNAVEM, on 14 February 4,719 soldiers had been registered at Negage, 3,855 at Tchikala Tcholohanga (formerly known as Vila Nova), 3,006 at Londuimbali and 1,705 at Quibaxe.

While the start of quartering after the long delays was seen as a political breakthrough, there is now growing concern at the quality and slowing pace of those quartered. The Secretary General of the UN, Dr Boutros-Ghali, stated in his report to the Security Council on 31 January (S/1996/75) that "there are reports, however, that some of the assembled soldiers are under age, that they came without uniform and that they were carrying old weapons".

General Joao de Matos, Chief of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces, stated in an interview with the Portuguese paper Expresso on 24 February, that most of those registered in the first phase of quartering at Vila Nova were recruited into UNITA at the end of 1995. Those quartered at Negage, which is in a zone controlled by UNITA, were of a superior quality. In Quibaxe and Londuimbali the quality of the troops was mixed.

It is also reported that only a third of the armaments handed in by UNITA is in good condition, with a third being semi-obsolete and the remainder totally obsolete. More seriously, the weapons have not been accompanied by ammunition.

Quartering far behind schedule

Although the UN Security Council has made clear that it expects the quartering of all of UNITA's 63,000 troops to be either completed, or at least close to completion, by the date for the renewal of the UNAVEM mandate in May, massive logistical problems remain to be overcome.

The Secretary General's report to the Security Council pointed out that four quartering camps were completed, with another 10 either close to completion or under way. However, the AFP news agency report quotes UN sources as saying that it will take three months to get all the confinement camps open.

There have been two main obstacles to the setting up of the camps. First, UNAVEM have had to take up the task of constructing the camps, because UNITA has failed in its obligation to provide the necessary labour force. Some sources, however, also criticise the speed of the arrangements made by UNAVEM.

Second, UNITA has been accused of actively obstructing the construction of the camps. Lt Col Carlos Serrazes, commander of the Brazilian peacekeeping unit at the Andulo quartering area, told Associated Press that UNITA was responsible for the delay in opening up the camp. He said "we'd be at 100 per cent here if UNITA would just give us the necessary permissions". The main route from nearby Kuito was not open and was in UNITA's hands. Vehicles bringing vital supplies were forced to use alternative routes, incurring long delays.

New obstacles raised

UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi has stated that the Angolan Government should reciprocate the "goodwill" shown by UNITA in confining its troops. The UNITA leader linked further troop confinements to movement in the political arena.

Speaking on UNITA's Radio Vorgan on 12 February, Jonas Savimbi said that "we cannot continue to confine and disarm 62,000 men without any political gesture". He then raised two points. Firstly, "the ban on UNITA should be lifted". Secondly, he called for a general and total amnesty.

These two points were directly addressed by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos during his opening speech to the ordinary session of the MPLA Central Committee on 16 February.

He said that "the principle of complete amnesty for crimes originating from the armed conflict is contained in the Lusaka Protocol. After approving the Lusaka Protocol, the National Assembly approved Amnesty Law No 18/94, promulgated by the President of the Republic on 10 November and published in the Government Gazette No 50, Series 1. If there are shortcomings in this law, the issue can be examined at the appropriate level".

On the second issue of UNITA becoming a fully fledged political party, the President quoted at length from the Constitution which pointed out the need for political parties to operate within the law through democratic and peaceful means. Thus, the President said "the sooner the general military incorporation of UNITA soldiers into FAA forces ends, the sooner UNITA will recover the condition of being a political party".

According to the London-based journal Southscan Jonas Savimbi is also calling for a transitional government of national unity. UNITA claims that after November 1996 the Government's mandate runs out, and states that the present Government should be replaced by a transitional one.

The Government has responded by reaffirming its commitment to the Lusaka Protocol, under which UNITA will be entitled to four ministers and seven deputy-ministers, along with a number of other posts (see APM no.5, vol II). However, the President said on 16 February that a transitional government "would be unconstitutional and undemocratic. In other words, a government resulting from an elected parliament and thus legitimate would be replaced by a non-elected government and therefore would be illegitimate".

In his defence of carrying on after November 1996, the President quoted the Constitution: "the deputies' mandate begins with the National Assembly's first session after elections and ends with the first session after subsequent elections, regardless of the individual suspension or cessation of the mandate".

There is a general consensus, both internally and internationally, that conditions do not exist for elections in November 1996. However, it is clear that this is an issue which UNITA intends to highlight in coming months.

UNITA is also seeking much greater representation for its officers in the Angolan army structure after the incorporation of UNITA's troops following demobilisation. The South African Press Association on 23 February reported that UNITA is demanding 40 top posts, whilst the Government is sticking by 11. Negotiations between the two sides are continuing.

Developments in United States send signals to Angola

A high ranking US military delegation visited Angola during the middle of February, led by General James Jamerson, second in command of American forces in Europe. In a meeting with FAA Chief of Staff, General de Matos, on 22 February, there were discussions on a programme of military education and training amounting to $165 million, reports Jornal de Angola.

The high-level visit was also interpreted as a very significant development in cementing improved relations between the US and the Angolan Government. It was also seen as a veiled warning from Washington for UNITA to abide by the peace agreement.

However, other sources maintain that further delays in implementation by UNITA are the result of a hope that a change in US President might bring them a return of greater support from Washington.

Date for summit set

The Portuguese radio station TSF has reported that a meeting between Angolan President dos Santos and UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi has been set for 1 March in Gabon.

The previous meeting, due to take place on 20 January, was cancelled by the UNITA leader at short notice. He is quoted by SAPA as saying on 20 February that "I need to see the President. I can't go on carrying out political activity from Bailundo".

Cease-fire violations continue

The Secretary General reported to the Security Council on 31 January that between 1 December and 25 January there had been a total of 154 cease-fire violations. Of these 58 had been attributed to the Angolan army, 91 to UNITA and 5 of unknown origin.

On 27 February an Antanov aircraft on route from Luanda to Lucapa was shot down over an area under the control of UNITA. 8 people on board died in the incident. The Joint Commission has sent a team of experts to the area to investigate.

Prisoners released

Dr Boutros-Ghali further reported to the Security Council that "the International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that the Government has released 350 registered prisoners. All prisoners identified by the Government have thus been freed. UNITA, which has so far freed only 44 prisoners, has yet to make a similar effort".

The ICRC reported on 7 February that UNITA had released a further 42 prisoners, from the towns of Luwia and Bailundo.

Cabinda cease-fire extended

A truce between the Government and the Cabinda Enclave Liberation Front (FLEC-Renovada) has been extended for a further four months.

The LUSA news agency reported on 26 February that negotiations in Brazzaville, Congo, successfully extended the cease-fire that was reached in September 1995. The report also said that leaders of the other separatist groups were to meet in Libreville, Gabon, to set up a body to talk with the Government.

Secretary General calls for international support for Angolan efforts

Dr Boutros-Ghali has called on the international community to give financial support to the efforts of Angolans. In particular, his report to the Security Council stated that "massive quartering of the Rapid Reaction Police presents a particular challenge to the Government and I appeal to the donor community to provide additional resources to support this vital undertaking".

He also drew attention to the need to support the revised version of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs inter-agency appeal. Angola Peace Monitor will provide an analysis of the appeal in its next issue.

Chalker visits Angola

Baroness Lynda Chalker, Britain's Minister for Overseas Development arrived on 19 February on a three day visit to Angola. During her visit she met with top officials from the Government and UNAVEM. Due to her trip coinciding with the meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling MPLA, she was unable to meet with President dos Santos.

She did, however, travel to Bailundo, where she met with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. During her meeting she pressed him for a "substantial advance" in the quartering of UNITA troops by the end of March.

There was disappointment in Angola following her trip that she did not pledge any new aid money to the war-torn country, and help build ground-level confidence in the peace process. It was expected that the trip would be used as a platform for a new announcement of aid (see APM 5, Vol II). However she said that "for the peace process to be totally successful, the economy has to undergo major reform".

Other visitors to Angola recently have included: Brian Atwood, administrator of the USAID, who was in the country from 3 - 6 February; Joao de Deus Pinheiro, the European Commissioner for the ACP; Jacques Diouf of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation. It is expected that South African President Nelson Mandela will visit Angola during March.

Malaria hits UN in Angola

Two Brazilian blue helmets have died in Angola as a result of contracting cerebral malaria, according to Sylvana Foa on 6 February. Out of the 7,000 UN personnel in Angola, almost 1,000 cases of malaria have been reported.

Diamond mining to be targeted

The London-based journal Southscan has reported that the Government has announced a new programme to stabilise the diamond sector. At present, UNITA raises enormous funds through the control of diamonds illegally mined in areas under its control. The Governor of Lunda Sul, Goncalves Muandumba, said that the provinces' official diamond industry was almost paralysed. The Government had embarked on major operations to clear illegal traders and miners operating in the Lundas.

However, the lasting impact of this on these activities is not clear.

Financial crisis at UN

The UN Secretary General, Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali warned on 6 February that "the financial crisis has brought the UN to the edge of insolvency". Speaking to a UN finance committee, he said that he would appeal to every debtor nation to provide him with a timetable for settling its arrears.

According to a report in the Financial Times on 7 February, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York has been told to avoid long-distance telephone calls, and to prepare for a 15 per cent cut in staff. The UN is owed $2.3 billion, of which the United States owes $1.2 billion. According to the Secretary General's report to the Security Council on 31 January, the UNAVEM special account up until 31 December 1995 was owed $26.4 million. ------- 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.

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************************************************************ Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Sat, 2 Mar 1996 18:12:33 -0500 Subject: Angola: Peace Monitor, II. 6