Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 7, 04/08/'96

Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 7, 04/08/'96

Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 7
Date Distributed (ymd): 960408

Angola Peace Monitor
Published by ACTSA on behalf of the Angola Emergency Campaign
Issue no.7, Volume II, 29 March 1996

UN Secretary General questions UNITA's good faith on quartering

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali has given a stern warning that time is running out for UNITA to send their troops to bases set up by the UN.

The Secretary General, in his report to the UN Security Council on 6 March (S/1996/171), said that "in recent days, the quartering of UNITA troops has slowed dramatically. Instances of forced recruitment and the substandard quality and quantity of weapons, equipment and ammunition brought to the quartering areas are bound to raise doubts about the good faith of UNITA in its approach to this process".

Eighty one individuals who registered at Tchikala Tcholohanga / Vila Nova subsequently fled the camp and turned themselves over to the Angolan National Police, claiming that they had been forcibly recruited by UNITA specifically for quartering, said the UN.

The Secretary General said that reports from UNAVEM III in Huambo Province confirm that this practice has indeed taken place in some areas. UNAVEM III has also observed that some UNITA troops arriving in quartering areas are "below or above the usual age for military service".

The report also raises the concern that "30 to 40 per cent of the personal weapons collected are in very poor condition or not serviceable. UNAVEM III is actively pursuing these matters which have a direct bearing on the credibility of the whole process".

According to a ministerial reply to a British Parliamentary Question by Robert Hughes MP, the figures for UNITA military personnel quartered by 19 March 1996 were as follows:

Quartering area total under 17 years old

Vila Nova 4,816 954
Londuimbali 4,442 576
Negage 5,003 359
Quibaxe 2,145 237
Total 16,406 2126

Of these 957 have deserted and 12 have died. A UN source quoted by the South African Press Association (SAPA) said that "the UN has not been able to find any solutions to the constant problems of medication and food". A total of 9,176 family members - 3,147 women and 6,029 children - have gone to the camps.

In response to a separate Parliamentary Question by Robert Hughes MP on weapons handed in by UNITA personnel at the quartering areas, the following figures were produced for 19 March:

Vila Nova Londuimbali Negage Quibaxe Total

Personal 3859 3127 4455 835 13276
Infantry 437 361 211 35 1044
Artillery 8 4 7 0 19
APC/tanks 1 0 0 0 1
Other 7 17 12 18 54

The Government and UNITA have set a deadline for the quartering of all UNITA military personnel by 8 May, which is the day that the UN Security Council will meet in New York to discuss whether to extend the mandate for UNAVEM III.

Secretary General reports some progress

Dr Boutros-Ghali did report some signs of improvement in the situation to the Security Council.

His report said that "among the positive developments of the past month are a decrease in the number of cease-fire violations; a further reduction in hostile propaganda; the release of additional prisoners registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - while the Government has freed all 353 such prisoners held by it, UNITA has so far released 139; the disengagement of government forces from some forward positions; and continued quartering of the rapid reaction police in 3 out of 10 planned quartering areas. However the implementation of many other elements is still behind schedule, particularly the crucial quartering of UNITA troops. Delays in this process have affected the implementation of other key provisions of the Lusaka Protocol, including the extension of State administration throughout the country."

President meets UNITA leader in Libreville

For the fourth time since the signing of the Lusaka Protocol, Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos met with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi on 1 March in Libreville, Gabon. The main points coming from the meeting were:

- the completion of the quartering of UNITA troops in May 1996, leading to the finalisation of the formation of FAA by June 1996. By July a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation is to be formed.

- the UNITA leader handed over a list of nominees for the government and administrative positions reserved under the Lusaka Protocol for UNITA. Names were also given for UNITA nominees for the 70 seats in the National Assembly left vacant by UNITA after they rejected the results of the 1992 elections.

- the two leaders agreed that the present National Assembly will be extended beyond November 1996. Sources said that the UNITA leader accepted the principle of postponing elections until the year 2000.

- it was agreed that further meetings between the two leaders would be held in Angola.

Savimbi speech sends mixed signals

There still remains considerable doubt over whether Jonas Savimbi will take up the position of Vice-President that was offered to him by the Angolan Government.

In an emotional speech to a rally in Bailundo on 13 March, the UNITA leader surprised many with his comments, leaving journalists and pundits with differing interpretations. (Extracts of the speech available from the BBC Summary of World Broadcasts (AL/2563) and the Angolan Embassy in London.)

The UNITA leader said "now that we are marking the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola's 30th anniversary, I would like to make it clear that one of our greatest errors was to sign the Bicesse Accord in 1991. It was a major error and I am here to admit that error. UNITA had everything to continue its unstoppable struggle. It was an error and I fully admit it."

Turning to the issue of disarmament, he said that "to confine soldiers is not a problem, but disarmament is. We have been fighting alongside these comrades for the past 30 years. My role is to disarm. To establish a single army for Angola is not only a patriotic duty, but a political one. My task is to disarm. For the thousands of people here today my task is to disarm. Soldiers in Vila Nova, Londuimbali, Quibaxe and Negage say: Savimbi has told us to surrender our weapons. You must understand how difficult and critical this is for me. I would prefer to surrender weapons and die afterwards: my life will become meaningless. Once weapons are surrendered, I will not be suitable for the vice-presidency. My task ends. I am telling you this so that no-one leaves this hall with doubts. I will fulfil my duty. I have assumed the duty to disarm troops, but you should understand that once you disarm I will have nothing else to do. As UNITA leader, my biggest pain right now is to disarm soldiers. I have not known of any historic leader who disarmed his forces and stayed in power".

He also had some positive news on the FAA: "There has been progress in the establishment of a single army. Also I believe that the President of the Republic was sufficiently accommodating and permitted 18 UNITA Generals to join the Angolan Armed Forces Supreme Command".

New conditions raised

Jonas Savimbi also revealed that he was creating new conditions for UNITA taking up Government positions: "I agree to UNITA members joining a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation only if it is a broad government".

Referring to Filomeno Vieira Lopes of the Front for Democracy and Analia Victoria Pereira from the Liberal Democratic Party, both of whom were in the audience, and Holden Roberto of the FNLA who was not present, Savimbi stated that "I spoke directly to the President of the Republic and asked that Analia and Filomeno should join, but that Holden and his group should join first. I won't join unless he joins, and my word is sacred. If he doesn't join I won't. UNITA will only join if the opposition joins".

The UNITA leader also raised the question of whether he was prepared to become Vice-President. He said: "ask Angolans, do you really need Savimbi as Vice-President of the Republic. Do you? Perhaps I would be more useful telling the truths I do, rather than being gagged. I would also not like to die of a heart attack just because I was not received by the director of the Office of the President. I think I would be much more useful outside than inside. However, what finally counts is the opinion of my party, the views of Angolans. Angolan opinion is very divided. I have received hundreds of letters from Luanda, from all sides: 'accept the vice-presidency, it would be good', 'don't accept, it's a trap'. I no longer know what you want."

UN assured after speech

On 18 March the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Angola, Alioune Blondin Beye, accompanied by General Sibanda (military commander of UNAVEM III) and the ambassadors from the troika observers of Portugal, Russia and the United States visited Bailundo to clarify the contents of Jonas Savimbi's speech.

Following a meeting with the UNITA leader, Mr Blondin Beye said on Televisao Popular de Angola "I am very much in a position to give you assurances relating to the firm commitment - I repeat, the firm commitment - of UNITA's political and military leadership and its president to the Lusaka peace process. What is more, UNITA, its political and military leadership, and particularly its president, firmly reaffirmed the spirit and letter of the Libreville agreement. Assurances were given with regard to the resumption of the confinement in the three new areas that we declared open - Ngove, Qibala and Ntuko". (note: there are now seven quartering areas open, the eighth being at Andulo.)

Deal on armed forces reported

An agreement was reached on 9 March between representatives of the Angolan armed forces, FAA, and UNITA on the thorny issue of the final make-up of FAA after UNITA's troops have been quartered.

This will complete the process of integrating UNITA troops that was stalled when UNITA rejected the results of the 1992 elections and returned to war.

The Chief of General Staff of FAA, General Joao Baptista de Matos, said on Televisao Popular de Angola that UNITA generals would be given nine posts in the army and a further nine in the "fourth branch" (this branch will assist in the nation's reconstruction). In addition, a "considerable number" of UNITA colonels will have positions in the FAA. A total of 26,300 UNITA soldiers will join the FAA.

Radio Nacional de Angola reported on 5 March that a further 36,000 UNITA troops will form part of the "fourth branch", and that the national army is expected to have a total of 90,000 troops.

SCF highlight need for freedom of movement

A senior official of the Save the Children Fund (UK) has warned that a key area of the Lusaka Protocol has not been met, leading to serious economic and political problems.

Don Redding, SCF's senior press officer reported, following a visit to Angola in late January 1996, that the issue of freedom of movement is essential to improve the health, education and economic prospects of Angolans.

He states that "although some people are moving back and forth across the lines there is no freedom of movement". Recent reports also document how UNITA taxes people's movements and subjects them to close scrutiny, with the threat of taking their goods and handing out beatings always implied.

Looking at the future for the country, Redding comments on the resources pledged at the Donors Round Table in Brussels in September 1995, saying that: "money or no money, development is not possible while the population remains divided geographically and militarily. The lack of freedom of movement poses a two-way problem of access: agencies will have difficulty getting proper access to people in UNITA zones; but also those people will have difficulty getting access to services. For example, some of the health posts and centres SCF is helping the Ministry of Health to restart in the Bocoio-Balombo valley are cut off from half their potential users by front lines".

He continues that "this problem of access also applies to economic security...the basic marketplace is severely distorted because of people's lack of freedom to move from one zone to another to trade".

On a positive note, Don Redding points to the rapid recovery possible. He stated that "where trade becomes possible and markets restart, as between Lobito and Bocoio/Balombo, there is a rapid increase in well-being, the basic exchange being agricultural produce for basic consumer goods. Livestock also reappears as, for example, cattle-herders return to previously unsafe areas".

UNITA leader meets Mandela

Jonas Savimbi met with South African President, Nelson Mandela, in Togo on 4 March. According to UNITA's Radio Vorgan "sources close to the UNITA presidency described the meeting, the second in less than a year, as useful, but did not elaborate".

A previous meeting between the two had been cancelled earlier in the year due to a health check-up on the President.

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 years subscription to the Angola Peace Monitor is available at a cost of 10 pounds sterling in Britain and 15 pounds sterling elsewhere. Please indicate whether you wish to receive the Angola Peace Monitor by post, fax, or e-mail. A full set of back issues is available at an additional cost of 2 pounds sterling.

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ACTSA, 28 Penton Street, London N1 9SA, e-mail, fax +44 171 837 3001, telephone +44 171 833 3133.


Message-Id: <> From: "APIC" <> Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 10:42:02 -0500 Subject: Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 7

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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