Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 3, 12/4/96

Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 3, 12/4/96

Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 3
Date Distributed (ymd): 961204

Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no.3 Vol III
30 November 1996
Special Representative upbeat on deadline compliance

The United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative to Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, has hailed progress in the peace process made in the last month. This appears to have removed the immediate threat of sanctions on the UNITA rebel movement and makes way for the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers.

At its last meeting, in October, the UN Security Council gave UNITA until 20 November to complete a series of military tasks including the full quartering and disarming of its troops. The UN threatened sanctions if sufficient progress was not made.

However, there remains widespread concern that many elements of the peace process have not yet been implemented.

The Joint Commission, comprised of the two signatories to the Lusaka Protocol; UNAVEM; and the troika of the Russian Federation, Portugal and the United States, met on 21 November to consider to what extent the Government and UNITA had complied with military tasks set out under a mediation document produced by Beye (see APM no.2 vol III).

After the meeting Beye said that "it is with great happiness that we noted that the tasks defined by the UN Security Council have all been implemented, some 100% and others 75% or 80%. No task defined by the UN Security Council was implemented less than 75%. Thus, the Joint Commission expressed its satisfaction to the government and particularly to UNITA, which had the most tasks to implement. The Joint Commission, however, urged the government and especially UNITA to implement as soon as possible the remaining tasks in the next few days. I say in the next few days because soon the UN Security Council will meet to examine the UN Secretary General's report. Thus, it is always possible to send to the headquarters or brief Mr [Hedi] Annebi on the recent tasks implemented before the UN Security Council meeting."

The Joint Commission session was attended by Mr Annebi, director for Africa of the UN Disarmament Department.
UNITA claim disarmament

UNITA have claimed that over the past month they have disbanded their military component.

UNITA's Radio Vorgan announced on 19 November that UNAVEM III has registered all UNITA officers and soldiers in accordance with the Lusaka peace accord. According to the report, registration was completed on 16 November, when the last UNITA regional commands were registered, including senior officers in UNITA's General Staff.

The report said that over 1,000 men who made up the regional commands were quartered in the central, southern, southeastern, northern and northeastern regions. However, the report stated that they handed over only 300 weapons. Communications equipment used during the war has been kept by UNITA to help them in their political work .

On 20 November Brigadier Antonio Tchassanha said that UNITA had complied with the timetable and had disarmed over 63,000 troops, lifted 35 remaining road control posts and handed in lists of its legislators for a government of national unity.

UNAVEM III put the figures for UNITA personnel registered at the quartering areas by 20 November at 68,310. However, of these 12,543 had deserted, leaving only 55,013 in the camps. 7,000 of those registered were under the age of 18. In all, according to an estimate by leading aid and UN officials, over 70% of those quartered were not combat troops. The poor quality of arms and soldiers quartered has been consistently stressed by the UN Secretary General in his reports to the UN Security Council.

Brigadier Tchassanha said that UNITA had presented 32,633 troops for selection into the single army: All we are missing are about 1,000 police members who are awaiting UN transportation to assembly camps.

UNITA complain that the selection process has been slowed down by the FAA's strict criteria for UNITA's integration into the army. The army is insisting that the new recruits are over 18 and under 30, that they are fit, and that they have a minimum level of schooling.

Following a meeting with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, Alioune Blondin Beye pointed out a problem UNITA were having sending its so-called policemen to quartering areas. He reported that UNITA says it has had two difficulties. Specifically, UNAVEM III no longer has room to accommodate the 5,011 policemen, of whom 2,400 have been registered .

Regarding Cabinda, Beye said UNITA confirmed that its men had been waiting to be transported by ferry since 11 November. I admit that the ball is not in UNITA's court, but in UNAVEM III's because we should have made aircraft available with the government's help.

On 16 November UNITA handed over a further 60 tonnes of weapons to UNAVEM III. The weapons, including AK-47s, G-3s, RPG-7s, machine guns and grenade launchers were handed over in Negage, Uige.
Consignment of peacekeepers homebound signals start of UN withdrawal

The United Nations announced on 21 November that around 600 UN peacekeepers will be sent home at the end of December. Two infantry companies from Brazil and Romania and two bridge-building companies from Korea and Ukraine will be the first to leave Angola.

UN official Annebi told Reuters that the UN could no longer afford to keep troops in Angola and a downscaling was necessary ahead of a larger withdrawal in February: We don t want to unnecessarily keep troops here...It is expensive .

The UN hopes to complete the withdrawal of troops by February, and engineer a complete closing down of the operation by June 1997. UNAVEM III was set up by the UN Security Council on 8 February 1995, when it stated the expectation that UNAVEM III would complete its mission by February 1997. It is expected that UNAVEM's mandate, which runs out on 11 December will be extended until February at the next Security Council meeting on Angola.
Serious allegations of UNITA arms imports raise doubts on UNITA's motives

Many analysts reject the notion that UNITA has disarmed - highlighting evidence that UNITA maintains considerable military capacity on the ground, bolstered by continued arms imports.

In November the head of UNAVEM's military component, General Sibanda, delivered a report to the Joint Commission stating that UNITA had not handed over their heavy weapons. This followed an incident at the end of October when an arms cache was found by UNAVEM in Negage, with weapons and explosives powerful enough to equip a 150-strong unit.

On 19 November the London-based Independent newspaper reported that arms traders with links to old guard members of South African military intelligence were supplying arms to UNITA via Kinshasa airport in Zaire.

The newspaper claims that arms and ammunition are flown by C-130 transport aircraft from Lanseria airport near Johannesburg to Kinshasa, from where they are flown to Angola to supply UNITA. According to the paper, the arms are shipped as mining equipment by an Angolan company known as CMC.

The newspaper states that operations run by serving and retired members of the South African Security Service, outside of governmental control, are motivated by financial rewards rather than political.

The Independent report confirms that UNITA is using Kinshasa for sanctions busting.

There have also been allegations from reliable sources that the large quantity of ammunition handed over by UNITA to the UN in Jamba were in fact bought from the Botswanan army's old stock specifically for that purpose.

On 27 July 1996, UNITA handed over 770 tonnes of weapons and munitions in Jamba. The arms included 16 tonnes of ammunition, anti-aircraft guns, rockets and multiple rocket launchers, several field artillery pieces, shells and grenades, and one T-55 tank.

The threat to the country from banditry is being taken very seriously by both the United Nations and the Angolan Government. In Mozambique gun-related crime has soared since Renamo and Government troops were demobilised following the 1992 Peace Accord. This is in large part due to the failure of the UN operation in Mozambique to disarm the rebel movement, and the large-scale unemployment that followed the demobilisation of troops on both sides.
Tension remains high as both sides cry foul

Jornal de Angola reported on 21 November that Special Representative Blondin Beye has announced that the dangers of a new war were over.

However, there have been an increased number of reports of violations of the Lusaka Protocol - though this may be accounted for as much by the political pressures caused by the UN deadline, as a real increase in incidents on the ground.

Over the last month UNITA has claimed that there have been attacks in several areas by the Government's forces, the FAA:

* on 5 November UNITA's Radio Vorgan reported troop and munitions movements, and recruitment by FAA in Namibe and Huila provinces. In particular, UNITA claimed that on 22 October, a plane unloaded a battalion of soldiers at Lubango airport coming from Luanda. The report also claims that government forces recruited 2,600 youths in Namibe and Huila Provinces.

* UNITA also claim that 3,120 special FAA reconnaissance forces were recently sent to northern Namibia. They claim that this is to destabilise UNITA-controlled areas in southeastern Angola.

* on 29 October Reuters reported that President dos Santos had ordered government troops in Bie province to return to barracks after tension in the area.

* a UN official has reported that UNITA had lodged an increased number of complaints of government cease-fire violations in the central province in the last month.

* in Cabinda UNITA report that a helicopter carrying UNITA soldiers from Cabinda to the Ntuco assembly area was shot at.

The Angolan Government has also alleged that UNITA has failed to fulfil its obligations:

* on 19 November Televisao Popular Angola reported that no significant progress has been made in implementing the peace accord in Benguela province, and that UNITA continues to hinder the free movement of people and goods. It also reported continued movement of UNITA troops.

* 8 people were killed by armed men in Benguela. It is suspected that UNITA soldiers were the culprits.

* in Andulo UNAVEM III forces were assaulted by UNITA members.

* in Lunda Norte province the Cuango traditional chief has urged the Joint Commission to assess the situation in his area, and in Canfunfo. He said UNITA has not quartered its forces.

* Televisao Popular de Angola reported on 2 November that UNITA were restricting the free movement of people and goods in Kwanza Sul.

* UNITA angered by constitutional change

On 13 November the Angolan Parliament, the National Assembly, amended the country's constitution, extending the life of the parliament and revoking the decision to create the position of vice-president.

The National Assembly agreed to extend its mandate for a minimum of two further years, until when the military, political, security and material conditions provided for in the Constitution and other legislation in force in the Republic of Angola have been created.

This in itself was not controversial, as both the UN and UNITA agree that conditions do not exist for elections to be held now, and the current mandate ran out on 26 November.

Another amendment to the constitution withdrew the change in the constitution, made on 1 September 1995, which allowed for two vice-presidents to be appointed. The constitution had been amended to accommodate UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi to grant him the special status of vice-president of Angola, which UNITA had demanded - but which Savimbi in fact subsequently rejected after prolonged prevarication.

The UNITA secretary-general Paulo Lukamba Gato reacted to the constitution amendments by claiming that they represented a constitutional coup that violates the Lusaka Protocol . Gato said that the revision of the constitution is not the sole responsibility of the MPLA. However, UNITA's Deputies are at present continuing their boycott of the parliament.

---------------------------------------------------------- Conference looks at Angolan peace

The annual Mozambique Angola Committee A Luta Continua conference was held in London on 23 November.

Sessions were held on the UN in Angola and the economic crisis facing the country. Amongst speakers on Angola were journalists Chris Gordon and Chris Simpson, economist Manuel Nunes, and Peter Hawkins of Save the Children Fund.

---------------------------------------------------------- Secretary General report circulated prior to December renewal

The Secretary General of the United Nations has produced a report on the situation in Angola, which is to be published on 1 December, prior to the December meeting of the UN Security Council.

The Angola Peace Monitor will be produced in mid-December to enable us to bring you news of this vital meeting.

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.

A subscription to Volume III of the Angola Peace Monitor is available at a cost of 10 pounds sterling in Britain and 15 pounds elsewhere. Please indicate whether you wish to receive the Angola Peace Monitor by post or e-mail.

Payment should be made in pounds sterling. If you wish to pay in any other currency, you must add the equivalent of 6 pounds sterling to cover our bank charges.

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


From: Message-Id: <> Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 13:15:56 -0500 Subject: Angola: Peace Monitor, III, 3

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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