Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 9, 5/29/'96

Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 9, 5/29/'96

Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 9
Date Distributed (ymd): 960529

Angola Peace Monitor
Issue no.9, Volume II 27 May 1996

Army amnesty moves opens path to peace

The Government of Angola and the rebel movement Uniao Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola, UNITA, on 21 May completed negotiations on the important issue of the integration of UNITA military personnel into the Angolan national army, FAA. This is a key provision of the Lusaka Protocol. If matched by political will from UNITA, this agreement paves the way for the disbandment of UNITA's military forces and the completion of the peace process.

According to reports from the Portuguese radio station RDP Antena - 1, and the Angolan News Agency, ANGOP, an agreement has been reached that as from 1 June the selection of military personnel will begin, with the process ending on 30 July.

No agreement has been made yet over the fate of those UNITA soldiers not chosen for the national army. The Government wants them placed in a new Fourth Branch of the military, to help with the reconstruction of the country. UNITA maintains that they should be immediately demobilised into civilian rehabilitation programmes.

On 8 May the National Assembly unanimously passed the Bill which provides for the amnesty of all crimes against military, internal state security and related crimes committed by Angolans since 31 May 1991. This was in response to a new condition for the integration of UNITA forces into the FAA raised by UNITA (see APM issue no.8, Volume II).

Last minute rush fails to win applause

At a meeting on 8 May in New York, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1055 (1996), extending the UNAVEM III mandate for a further two months, until 11 July. This is one month less than the previous renewal, in a sign of greater international pressure on UNITA to comply with the Lusaka Protocol.

The resolution expressed "profound regret at the overall slow pace which is far behind schedule" and noted "with deep concern the failure of UNITA to complete the quartering of all its troops by 8 May in accordance with resolution 1045 (1996) of 8 February". It further went on to note "the recent progress in the quartering of UNITA troops and calls upon UNITA to fulfil by June 1996 its obligation to complete the credible, uninterrupted and fully verifiable quartering of its troops and to turn over to UNAVEM III all its arms, ammunition and military equipment".

In a dash to meet its self-imposed deadline of quartering 30,000 troops by 8 May, UNITA has moved thousands of its troops into official UN quartering areas, reaching a figure of 31,500 on 7 May.

The large scale movement of UNITA troops into the quartering areas in the first week of May has brought a guarded response from the UN Security Council. Speaking on 8 May during the debate on the UN peacekeeping operation in Angola, UNAVEM III, the US Ambassador to the UN, Karl Inderfurth spoke for many countries when he said that "the last-minute movements of thousands of troops to quartering areas in the final days before the renewal of UNAVEM's mandate is typical of UNITA's pattern of lurching forward in fits and starts towards its goals. This pattern does not help cement faith in UNITA's overall commitment to the peace process. It is essential that UNITA continue the quartering process without further delay or interruption. Unless real soldiers bearing real weapons are quartered, the peace process will not move forward".

According to information supplied to ACTSA by the UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unite in Luanda (UCAH), as of 15 May, a total of 33,675 UNITA soldiers were registered at the following Quartering Areas.

Vila Nova 5,007
Londiumbali 5,212
Negage 5,008
Piri/Quibaxe 2,148
N'gove 5,044
Quibala 3,211
N'tuco 1,759
Catala 2,211
Chicuma 2,991
Andulo 1,084

An eleventh quartering area was opened on 17 May at Caiundo, Kuando Kubango Province, with a twelth due to open on 21 May at Chitembo, in Bie. Work is still taking place on two further sites, with the location of the last quartering area still under discussion.

UNITA promises to quarter 50,000 by 15 June

The UNITA General Staff on 21 May issued a communique in which they pledged to confine 50,000 troops by 15 June. This clarifies a statement made by the UN Secretary General's Special Representative, Alioune Blondin Beye, who said after a visit to UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in Andulo on 14 May that "I am in a position to state firmly that UNITA will resume the confinement process before the end of this week and it will confine 50,000 men before 15 June".

Concern raised over those quartered

The Secretary General of the UN, Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali has warned that the patience of UNITA soldiers staying in the quartering areas may be running out.

In his report to the Security Council on 30 April (S/1996/328), he warned that "desertions from quartering sites were reported to number about 2,100, but the actual figure is probably higher, since, on several occasions UNITA commanders have prevented UNAVEM III personnel from conducting roll calls. UNITA representatives claimed that desertions were due to the harsh living conditions in the camps but there is reason to believe that some of them were covertly sanctioned by commanding officers and that others involved persons who had been forcibly recruited by UNITA for quartering. The age of some UNITA troops and the condition of weapons surrendered continue to be a major concern."

The Secretary General went on to state that "Complaints by UNITA, many of which have proved to be largely unfounded, have been carefully investigated and followed up. The [Joint] Commission, of which UNITA is a member, has concluded that the assistance being provided to the soldiers in the quartering areas is generally adequate".

He continued that "It is disturbing, therefore, that UNITA's mass media continue to disseminate allegations about sub-standard conditions in quartering areas".

On the issue of troop morale, he stated that "The soldiers who arrived late last year at the first quartering areas in Vila Nova and Londiumbali have now been quartered there for five months, which is the maximum period originally planned. Not only is their prolonged stay rapidly depleting United Nations resources (those allocated for first assembly will almost be exhausted in May) but discipline in some camps has started to deteriorate. These factors make it imperative to begin without delay the gradual incorporation of UNITA troops into FAA and the demobilization of those who are willing to be discharged."

Government troop quartering "positive"

The Government has received praise from both the Secretary General and the Security Council of the UN over its withdrawal to base of its troops.

Writing in his report to the Security Council, the Secretary General stated that "the major positive development was the withdrawal of the FAA to their nearest barracks in some provinces". He also pointed out that the Civilian Police component of UNAVEM III had "verified the quartering of the rapid reaction police in Benguela, Huambo, Luanda, Luena, Lubango, Uige and most recently, in Malange. As of 25 April, 3,605 of the declared strength of 3,745 personnel had been quartered in these 7 locations. Barracking of those in Saurimo will commence on 30 April, with those in Cabinda following in May."

However, this positive view is rejected by UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, who said in an interview in Le Figaro on 17 May that "Government troops are only pretending to return to base. These soldiers and the special police forces, the "Ninjas", are still threatening our men who are now disarmed".

Meanwhile, the Government announced on 13 May that the second stage of moving its troops to barracks was to commence, involving the barracking of 6,000 troops over the following two weeks.

UNITA leader hints at accepting vice-presidency

Jonas Savimbi has hinted that he might still accept the post of Vice-President of Angola, if certain conditions are met, in an important interview on 15 May in the French daily "Figaro".

The UNITA leader said that "First, the MPLA must accept integration of UNITA's leaders into a cabinet of national unity and the Government army. Then, if my party decides that I ought to accept this offer, I shall do so. But Dos Santos is both President of the Republic and President of the MPLA. If I become Vice-President, I will be under the orders of a party leader, although I will have renounced the presidency of UNITA. This is barely acceptable. If UNITA decides to send me to Luanda to take up the role of Vice-President, it should also elect for itself a new President".

Answering a question on whether UNITA would "keep control of the diamond producing areas in the northeast of the country, Savimbi responded that "For UNITA, this is a question of survival. In 1992 the Government was supposed to finance our campaign. It did not do so. We therefore had to secure our own means of finance, because, one day, there will be lots of new elections, and we must finance the campaign".

The UNITA leader also called for a "transitional Government" to be in place by November. This is seemingly in contradiction with UNITA's agreement with the Angolan Government that a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation should govern the country until new elections can be held.

Military situation "calm"

The body over-seeing the peace process in Angola, the Joint Commission, has noted that the military situation in Angola is relatively calm with no serious military actions registered. This analysis was confirmed by the Secretary General in his report to the Security Council, who said that "the military situation in most of the provinces remained calm, with no offensives or other significant military actions by either party".

ACTSA calls for action

Action for Southern Africa, ACTSA, has written to the British Government, calling for greater international action to be taken to ensure that UNITA fulfils its obligations under the Lusaka Protocol.

In a letter to Baroness Chalker, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, ACTSA Chair Robert Hughes MP, wrote that "The Security Council must now be prepared to spell out a set of specific measures that will be taken against UNITA if it once again fails to comply, within the period set for the renewal of the mandate, with a minimum set of provisions; at the very least to include the full and verified quartering of its troops and the surrender of all arms, ammunition and military equipment to the UN - as agreed in the Lusaka Protocol. If such steps are not made, the Security Council should make it clear what new measures it will take to ensure the full and effective implementation of existing UN sanctions on the continuing flow of arms and petroleum products to UNITA and to block revenues from the international trade in illegally extracted diamonds which finances this trade".

In her response to ACTSA, Baroness Chalker wrote that "as you rightly suggest, further procrastination in the quartering and disarming of UNITA troops cannot be justified". She continued that the UN Security Council Resolution of 8 May "renews the mandate of UNAVEM III only for a period of 2 months, until 11 July 1996, and in this period UNITA will be expected to maintain the momentum of quartering achieved earlier this month. If UNITA have failed to make significant progress by the expiry of the current mandate, this will certainly influence the Security Council when it next considers the mandate's renewal".

Government signs agreement with Cabinda rebels

The Gabonese radio station, Africa No 1, has reported that on 15 May in Libreville, Gabon, an agreement on a cease-fire was signed between the Government and the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave - Cabinda Armed Forces (FLEC-FAC).

Jonas Savimbi to visit Europe

UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi is due to visit Europe at the beginning of June. He is expected to visit London where meetings with Government officials are anticipated.

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: Wed, 29 May 1996 09:52:57 -0500 Subject: Angola: Peace Monitor, II, 9