Cities which José Eduardo dos Santos is using as springboards for a new military offensive against UNITA will continue to be under military pressure by the Generalised Popular Resistance, a reliable source has told the UNITA News Agency, KUP.
According to the source, UNITA forces will not allow the cities of Kuito, Huambo and Malange to continue receiving military logistical supplies. The source pointed out the three cities are currently under siege and are not accessible by land or air as a result of preventive military operations carried out by the Generalised Popular Resistance which includes shelling pre-selected military targets such as airports and weapons warehouses.
Meanwhile, UNITA is continuing to appeal to the civilian population in the major urban centers to leave the cities immediately assuring them of food assistance and security in its vast liberated zones.
Following the military siege on various Angolan cities controlled by the MPLA regime, travel by road from the north to the south of the country has practically been paralysed, according to the Central Regional Operational Command of the Generalised Popular Resistance. The only land route which had earlier existed, the road linking Kuanza Sul Province to the coastal city of Benguela has been closed down to traffic due to continuous spectacular attacks.
The Russian Federation Government on July 5th expressed its desire to work towards the release of its nationals captured by UNITA in the Angolan war zone while rendering military service to the José Eduardo dos Santos regime. Reacting to the new Russian position, a Generalised Popular Resistance source said that the Russian Government has necessarily to face the reality of the facts. Like any other civilised state the Russian authorities have to defend the interests of their citizens which entails talks with UNITA. Expressing the party’s readiness to release the Russians in the near future, the source noted that UNITA is not interested in setting up a colony Russian captives in Angola. Seven Russian mercenaries are currently being held by UNITA.
The Generalised Popular Resistance has destroyed a Scania military transport truck on the Anduim-Kalomboloka road in an attack carried out on July 3rd. The military truck was travelling from Luanda to Dondo. Seven Government soldiers died in the attack, according to KUP sources in northern Angola.
Violent clashes were reported on July 5th on the Katengue/Kaimbambo road in the coastal Benguela Province. Fourteen Government troops were killed in the fighting and two AK-47 assault rifles seized by UNITA forces. Meanwhile, traditional authorities in the Benguela region have condemned the looting of goods belonging to the civilian population by MPLA troops during the so-called «clean-up operations» asupposedly meant to clear up the area of UNITA fighters.
The MPLA Government has announced a shake-up of its Armed Forces. A despatch signed by José Eduardo dos Santos announced the appointment of new military and police commanders. General Miguel Angelo «Vietnam» and Brigadier Jack Raul have been appointed as military commanders of the Central Front which covers the Angolan provinces of Huambo, Bié, Kwanza Sul and Benguela, replacing Macedo de Amaral «Violência» who will now head the Angolan mission in Congo. General Agostinho Nelumba Sanjar, who was Commander of the Eastern Front, has been removed from his post and appointed instead as head of the Angolan Armed Forces’ Planning Department. The North-western Front will now be headed by General Afonso Madelibório, while General Sassungo Andrade Santos of the Armed Forces Operational Command, known by its Portuguese acronym COFA will now occupy the post of Adviser to the Chief of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces, General João de Matos, a move which is being seen as the ousting of one of the senior officers drawn from UNITA in 1991. The shake-up in the military command of the Armed Forces in regions of the country considered as being hot spots is a sign of the regime’s uneasiness in the face of the worsening political and military situation in the country. A Generalised Popular Resistance source played down the measures adopted by the Government saying they are inopportune. «Such measures will not change the course of events», the source noted.
The changes also cover the Angolan National Police.
Important traditional figures in the southern Angolan province of Cunene have expressed disappointment with the Namibian authorities for facilitating the forced recruitment of Angolan youths resident in Namibia into the Angolan Armed Forces. The traditional chiefs regretted the fact that the Namibian Government does not reciprocate the spirit of good neighbourliness shown by UNITA.
It is worth pointing out that the Luanda regime has so far already recruited more than 600 Angolan refugee youths inside Namibian territory by force in collaboration with the Nujoma Government. The youths are later transported to the Angolan city of Onjiva, capital of Cunene Province in order to be incorporated into the Angolan Armed Forces against their will.
The Commander of the UNITA forces in northern Angola, General Apollo, has denied reports by the Voice of America Portuguese Service according to which Government forces have recaptured the municipality of Sanza Pombo, one of ten under UNITA jurisdiction. According to the senior UNITA officer, Sanza Pombo continues to be firmly under the control of the Generalised Popular Resistance which is daily consolidated its position on the ground. Meanwhile, the political and military situation in the Uige region is favourable to UNITA which currently controls 28 out of the coffee producing province’s 32 communes. Fierce fighting is currently taking place in the Alfandega region along the Negage- Sanza Pombo road. Confirming the deteriorating military situation in the region, the Minister of Territorial Administration, Faustino Muteka, on July 5th appealed to the population of Uige City to participate in the defence of the city.
President of the Angolan Liberal Democratic Party, Anália Vitória Pereira, has said that she does not believe in the Government militarily defeating UNITA. Speaking in an interview with the Voice of America Portuguse Service, the PLD leader said that UNITA is present throughout the country and is currently carrying out military actions which can not easily be overcome. According to Anália de Vitória Pereira pointed out that there is no other way out of the present conflict in Angolan other than dialogue between the warring parties. Referring to the economic situation in the country, the PLD leader criticised the Luanda authorities saying they should step down because they are solely to blame for the hardships being faced by Angolans.
The so-called MPLA Family is in the throes of a succession power struggle following José Eduardo dos Santos’ worsening health condition. In recent days, the various contending wings inside the MPLA have been busy jostling themselves for the post which José Eduardo dos Santos will eventually abandon. Speculation over José Eduardo dos Santos’s worsening health condition has further been highlighted by his absence during the swearing in ceremonies of the new Nigerian head of state, Olussengu Obassanjo, and Thabo Mbeki of Nigeria as well as the Lusaka Summit on the conflict in the former Zaire and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) heads of state summit.
Economic experts have described as senseless the current policy by international non-governmental organisations operating in Angola on the side of the MPLA regime. According to the experts, international relief agencies should suspend all assistance to the dos Santos regime until the Angolan Government clarifies how the country’s wealth is being spent. Hundreds of millions of dollars from the country’s immense wealth continue to be unaccounted for with the Angolan people unable to benefit from the country’s revenue. Furthermore, Angolans have become poorer and without any hope for a brighter future.
International organisations who know well the Luanda regime have often pointed to the existence of widespread corruption at all levels of the Angolan state as well as the mismanagement of public affairs with more than 60 per cent of the state budget has been deviated to the regime’s war effort.
A Government military convoy has been attacked on the Luena-Chikala road. According to reliable sources, 13 Government troops died as a result of the attack which also resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of war material by the Generalised Popular Resistance. Two army captians belonging to the 11th Tactical Grouping of the Government Armed Forces, namely Francisco Samuyilo and Limo, were among those killed in the attack. Another attack by the Generalised Popular Resistance forces on Government troops took place in the Kamanongue locality of the eastern Moxico Province. Ten Government troops were killed in the attack. In a separate military action in the same province, six Government troops died in a UNITA attack on two military vehicles on the Luena-Lewa road.
Meanwhile, in the northern Uige Province, Colonel Pedro Matateu of the Generalised Popular Resistance on July 13th denied reports that Government forces had retaken the municipality of Sanza Pombo. «Our forces are in full control of the political and military situation in Sanza Pombo», he said. He revealed that UNITA forces had on July 11th defeated Government troops in clashes in the Alfandga area. During the fighting, UNITA forces captured large quantities of arms and ammunition of various calibre. Colonel Matateu appealed to the civilian population concentrated by the MPLA Government by force in Uige City to abandon the city immediately and return to their home areas warning that the coming days will be extremely difficult.
In the south-western Benguela Province, UNITA fighters have ambushed a military vehicle transporting war material on the Katengue-Kaimbambo road. Six Government troops were killed and the military vehicle completely burnt down. During the same period, four other Government troops lost their lives when their military unit, which was plundering property belonging to the civilian population at the time, was attacked by UNITA forces in the Cubal region.
Disabled former Government soldiers in the northern Uige Province have revolted against the MPLA regime accusing it of having abandoned its responsibilities towards those who lost their limbs while fighting the MPLA’s war. During the demonstration, the disabled former soldiers threw stones at local Government installations, seriously injuring the Provincial Finance Delegate, José Vamba. In the southern Kuando Kubango Province, war disabled and former MPLA fighters are facing serious difficulties saying they have not received their subsidies for the past fourteen months.
UNITA Special forces have attacked military objectives deep inside Kuito-Bié City in central Angola. During the surprise attack, which took place last week, several Government troops were killed. The attack threw the city into panic, forcing the local Provincial Governor, Luís Paulino dos Santos to order a curfew in the city. In another development, 17 Government troops have been killed in fighting which took place on July 11th in the municipality of Chitembo between UNITA forces and Government troops.
Forty Government troops have been killed over the last five days in the northern Uige Province. The Government troops died in fighting which took place in the Ambuila and Alfândega regions while trying to recapture the municipality of Sanza Pombo which is under UNITA administration.
In the eastern Moxico Province, Generalised Popular Resistance forces on July 12th attacked a Government military disposition in the locality of Kaselomba, which is party of the municipality of Lumege Kameia. Ten Government soldiers died in the attack while a large quantity of diverse weaponry and ammunition were seized by Generalised Popular Resistance forces. Among the captured weapons were AKM machine guns and 82 mm mortars. Government troops have been accused by local people of practising atrocities, including raping women and looting goods belonging to villagers.
Tons of Irish potato, green pepper, cabbage, lettuce and carrot are expected to be donated to needy people by the Nova Etapa, situated in the Alto Hama Commune in the central Angolan province of Huambo. According to the local Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, this year’s harvest is expected to surpass all expectations. In another development, meanwhile, a fishing project is underway in the same commune. The project is expected to render an approximately a ton worth of fish per week. Two canoes with a capacity of 500 Kg each have already been constructed the project which will be carried out on the Queve River which has rich fishing reserves. The project is being promoted by the local UNITA Party structures.
Twenty-three villagers, including men, women and children, have arrived in the municipality of Mussende, in the Kuanza Sul Province, from Malange City where they had been held in concentration camps against their will by the Luanda authorities in order to attract international humanitarian assistance which is later deviated to Government forces. The villagers say life in the besieged city has become increasingly difficult due to what they describe as the savage nature of the dos Santos regime. They revealed that the Angolan Armed Forces are responsible for criminal acts against the civilian population in the city, especially the plundering of private property. Government troops are also accused of deviating international relief assistance intended for the civilian population. It is worth recalling that UNITA has often appealed to the civilian population to abandon the cities under MPLA control and instead return to their home areas where they can dedicate themselves to agricultural activities.
Government forces continue to commit acts of atrocities against the civilian population throughout the country. According to reports, On July 14th, Government forces looted property belonging to the civilian population in the Monte Belo region of the coastal Benguela Province. Among the loot were cereals and domestic animals. Several villagers who tried to resist the theft of their property were murdered by the Government troops. Similar incidents have been reported from the southern Kuando Kubango Province where Government troops shot dead seven villagers and burnt down 11 houses in Kalonjonjo Village on July 12th.
The Director of the Luengue Commune Basic School situated in the Likuwa region of the southern Kubango Province has said that she is satisfied with the level of learning of her students. Suzana Chilombo, speaking in an interview with the local correspondent of the UNITA News Agency, KUP, revealed that her school has registered a success record of about 76 per cent among the 2.000 students. Despite the war imposed by the José Eduardo dos Santos regime upon the African people of Angola, UNITA continues to attach great importance to education during the past 23 years of the party’s existence.
The need to the war in which the country has once more been plunged continues to rally various sectors of Angolan society. An organisation calling itself the «Reflection Group for Peace» on July 15th launched a manifesto in the Angolan capital, Luanda, demanding that the Government, UNITA and the Cabinda Separatist organisation, FLEC, must immediately cease all military hostilities, urgently open up humanitarian corridors in order to allow the civilian population affected by war to have access to relief assistance. The group plans to gather 10.000 signatures by August 15th in support of its cause. At least 100 people, including the historic FNLA leader, Holden Roberto, UNITA’s Horácio Njunjuvili and Fátima Roque were among those who signed the petition.
Peace in Angola necessarily entails the resumption of dialogue between UNITA and the Luanda regime. It is upon the MPLA regime to take the right step in this direction since it was José Eduardo dos Santos who closed the door to dialogue with UNITA by decreeing and declaring war on UNITA in December 1998.
Meanwhile, reacting to the Luanda based civil society’s initiative against war in Angola, General Kanhali Vatuva of UNITA encouraged the initiative and appealed to Angolans currently living under the oppression of the MPLA regime to join hands with the generalised movement against José Eduardo dos Santos who not only declared war but also closed the door to dialogue. The UNITA official reiterated his party’s readiness to resume dialogue, noting however that such dialogue must be on a completely new basis, without the quartering or disarmament of its forces.
Meanwhile, the UNITA Secretary General, Lukamba Paulo Gato, has welcomed the courage demonstrated by people in the Angolan capital, Luanda, who are expressing their opposition to the war being waged by the dos Santos regime. The UNITA official reiterated his party’s readiness for dialogue noting, however, that such dialogue must be on a completely new basis. He ruled out the quartering or disarming of UNITA forces.
It is worth pointing out that the dos Santos regime has negatively responded to the manifesto by the Reflection Group on peace. A day after the manifesto was made public, the Luanda regime’s secret police launched secret operations aimed at neutralising all those who express their desire to see an end to the war declared by José Eduardo dos Santos in December 1998. A stepped up police presence has been reported on the streets of the capital in a bid to quell down any demonstration by the population in support of the position adopted by the Angolan civil society.
Lieutenant-Colonel Alberto Ferreira, Commander of the 1st Tactical Grouping of the Government’s 13th Regiment has been killed in a UNITA attack on an MPLA military disposition on July 15th on the Ngombe Yangombe-Kalambata in the southern Zaire Province. General Apollo of the Generalised Popular Resistance forces in northern Angola, who revealed this in an interview with the UNITA News Agency, KUP, denied reports according to which Government forces had retaken the municipalities of Ambuila and Sanza Pombo. According to the UNITA official, the Generalised Popular Resistance forces currently control ten out of sixteen of the municipalities of the northern Uige Province.
In Kwanza Sul Province, UNITA forces have taken a further advance towards the town of Gabela following an attack last July 15th on a military unit of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) in a locality situated on the left bank of the Queve River.
Ten Government soldiers died in the attack while six others surrendered to UNITA forces.
The Bailundo Municipal Council has registered success in improving the image of the city. The Bailundo Municipal Council Mayor, Anacleto Ferramenta Isaías, described the balance of the activities carried out so far by his council as being positive. These include the reconstruction of the Tewa Tewa River Bridge, improvements made on th city’s main roads and the rehabilitation of the water system in Bailundo. Mr. Anacleto noted that Bailundo has one of the best sources of drinking war in the central Angolan plateau highlands with an acceptable percentage of necessary chemicals such as iron, potassium and calcium, besides other basic substances. The Bailundo Municipal Council Mayor revealed that his council plans to rehabilitate the Bailundo Municipal Council Market in the coming days as well as those in the neighbouring communes and other localities. Plans are also underway to reconstruct the Luvili River Bridge.
The MPLA Government has spent more than four billion American dollars on the purchase of weapons for its current war. According to a report by the American State Department released on July 15th, the four billion dollars spent by the Luanda regime for the purchase of war material over the past six years has seriously hampered the social sector, especially health and education which did not receive any attention by the Government even during the period of the Lusaka Protocol.
Meanwhile, reports from Lunda Norte Province say that Government troops have murdered Queen Muanza Yanga. The traditional ruler was murdered in her village at Munikichi on the outskirts of the diamond mining town of Kuango after having reacted against the looting of property belonging to her people by Government troops. The queen’s killing by Government troops has created widespread discontent among the people and the traditional rulers in the region who have accused Eduardo dos Santos of being a criminal.
UNITA forces have destroyed a Government military logistical supply convoy which was travelling from the Angolan capital, Luanda, to the northern city of Uige. The ambush took place on the Lukala-Samba Caju road and resulted in the complete destruction of the 58-truck convoy and the death of 68 MPLA soldiers. UNITA military sources have said that the military convoy was transporting war material and foodstuffs to Government as part of preparations against UNITA administered areas in the region.