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UNITA had lost ground quickly in late 1994 and was keen to sign a cease-fire accord. In contrast the government was on the ascendency on the battlefield and only due to immense diplomatic pressure signed the Lusaka Protocol. Indeed fighting continued although both sides finally signed the cease-fire protocol on November 20, 1994 in Lusaka. Significantly, UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi refused to sign the agreement in person, ensuring that President dos Santos could not either, leaving it to subordinates to endorse the accord, a sign of continued lack of confidence in the peace process.

Many Angolan government officials had their doubts over the wisdom of a cease-fire. They feared that UNITA remained too strong to guarantee lasting peace. Chief of Staff General João de Matos admitted in February 1995 that "only the total defeat of Savimbi can ensure peace...strictly from the military point of view it [the Lusaka Protocol] was a mistake."7

Jonas Savimbi also believed that the Lusaka Protocol was a mistake according to UNITA's former secretary general Eugenio Manavakola, the man who signed the protocol for UNITA. According to Manuvakola, Savimbi said in mid-1994 that he did not want responsibility for the peace process and that somebody else would have to do so. Therefore the negotiators were Manuvakola, Isaias Samakuva, and Jorge Valentim. "I remember wondering with my friends who the guinea pig would be. I did not know it would be me," stated Manuvakola after he had fled to Luanda with his family in August 1997. He also revealed that he had been detained by UNITA on February 14, 1995 and had since been under tight UNITA security. Jonas Savimbi had threatened him with death if he tried to escape.8 He had been clearly made the scapegoat for being the signatory of the Lusaka Protocol.

The Lusaka Protocol

The protocol technically marked the end of Angola's brutal and costly "Third War." The Lusaka Protocol provided for a cease-fire, the integration of UNITA generals into the government's armed forces (which were to become nonpartisan and civilian controlled), demobilization (later amended to demilitarization) under U.N. supervision, the repatriation of mercenaries, the incorporation of UNITAtroops into the Angolan National Police under the Interior Ministry, and the prohibition of any other police or surveillance organization.

The major political issues covered in the Lusaka Protocol were the U.N.'s mandate (verification and monitoring of the Lusaka Protocol), the role of peacekeepers (supervision), the completion of the electoral process, and national reconciliation. Under the provisions for reconciliation between the parties, UNITA's leadership would receive private residences, political offices in each province and one central headquarters. UNITA would also hold a series of post as ministers, deputy ministers, ambassadors, provincial governors and deputy governors, municipal administrators and deputy administrators, and commune administrators. The MPLA would retain all other positions of patronage.9 As a backdrop to the protocol, a Security Council embargo on arms and oil transfers to UNITA had been in place since 1993, while both the government and UNITA had agreed to halt new arms acquisitions as part of the accords. But the embargo on UNITA was not enforced, and both sides openly continued major arms purchases throughout the process.

Human rights issues remained a subtext to the agreement, mentioned only indirectly as general human rights principles in the protocol's annexes on national reconciliation and on the U.N.'s mandate. On amnesty both the Angolan government and UNITA's position was crystal clear: the Lusaka Protocol would provide that "all Angolans must forgive and forget the offences resulting from the Angolan conflict and face the future with tolerance and confidence. Furthermore, the competent institutions shall grant an amnesty ....for the illegal acts committed by anyone in the context of the current conflict."10

A joint commission, comprised of U.N. as the chair, government, and UNITA representatives, with the U.S., Portugal and Russia as observers (the Troika), oversaw the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol. Any accord violation verified by the U.N. or reported by one of the parties would be discussed in the Joint Commission. In practice the commission became a depositary for human rights and military violation reports but there was little inclination by the U.N. to publicize or denounce these incidents. Even when Isaias Samakuva, head of UNITA's delegation to the Joint Commission, was assaulted by UNITA cadres in May 1997 while on an official duties, the U.N. turned a blind eye to this abuse and made no effort to bring the assailants to book: it underscored that the U.N. was prepared toturn a blind eye to human rights abuses, even attacks on senior officials captured on camera.

Violations of the Lusaka Protocol in 1995 and 199611

Many violations of the Lusaka Protocol occurred in 1995 and 1996, with a great deal of localized fighting in which even U.N. personnel and agencies were not spared. In March 1995 UNITA combatants shot down a UNAVEM III helicopter in Quibaxe. A meeting of military leaders on January 10, 1995 failed to bring the fighting to an end. A second meeting in Waku Kungo in February made more progress towards consolidating the cease-fire.

President dos Santos and UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi met for the first time since 1992 in Lusaka on May 6, 1995, in what then appeared to be a symbolic step forward in the peace process. Dos Santos had been pressured by hardliners in the military not to attend, but immense counterpressure from the U.N. and U.S. convinced dos Santos to go ahead. In June, building on the momentum of the May summit between the two leaders, the government offered Savimbi the position of joint vice-president of the Angolan Republic. Later that month UNITA sent its first high level delegation to Luanda since 1992. In August, following a second summit in Gabon, Savimbi noted the offer on behalf of UNITA, but refused to say whether he would accept it. A third meeting between the leaders occurred in Brussels in September 1995 at a UNDP-sponsored Round Table donors conference in which both leaders once again pledged their commitment to peace and reconstruction. A fourth meeting between the leaders occurred in March 1996 in Libreville, Gabon at which a revised peace process time-table was agreed. At this meeting one of the two vice-presidencies was formally offered again to UNITA, an offer to which UNITA leader Savimbi promised to reply in writing. In August 1996 Savimbi formally rejected the offer during UNITA's Third Congress, claiming it was his party that did not want him to take up the post.

Full-scale war nearly erupted in Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul in September 1995 following a three-month build-up of troops and war material by the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA). Diplomatic pressure on President dos Santos from the U.N. and the U.S. once again was successful and led to the suspension of the operation.

Although the Lusaka Protocol demanded the "repatriation of all mercenaries," the South African firm Executive Outcomes (EO) maintained some 400-500 men in Angola, mostly under contract to the Angolan Armed Forces. This became acontentious issue, and under pressure from the U.S. and others, the Angolan government finally told EO to withdraw in January 1996. A number of these personnel have been redeployed into companies linked to EO, such as Branch Mining, Shibata Security, and Stuart Mills Associates and other private security firms such as Alpha 8 in the diamond areas.12

Most of the incidents in 1996 consisted of small-scale attacks, ambushes, and looting. In many areas, government and UNITA troops were still in close proximity and their aggressive patrolling undermined attempts to increase confidence between them. In December 1996 the government also captured a string of UNITA-held hamlets in the northwest. But there were hopes that as confidence grew on the ground the number of cease-fire violations would decline.

Increasing Number of Violations in 199713

The number of serious violations of the cease-fire increased in 1997. In the early part of the year the majority of reported cease-fire violations were attacks on civilians designed either to control the movement of food aid in contested areas or to stop people from moving into areas controlled by the other side. There were also some violations of the Lusaka cease-fire as the government's military took up forward positions.14

Between June and September 1997 there were many new reports of the mobilization of troops, movement of military equipment, and forced conscription. The U.N. verified several attacks by UNITA on government positions, including in Lunda Norte province, as well as attacks by government forces on villages in Huila province. The most serious attacks were by UNITA in Lunda Norte at Posto de Fronteira Nordeste, on July 2, where UNITA forces razed to the ground a village of approximately 150 inhabitants. At Posto Fronteira Muaquesse on July 24, UNITA forces attacking a village burned houses and killed several civilians. UNITA also conducted last-minute changes in the scheduled demobilization of UNITA troops - reactivating and deploying them to strategic locations controlled by UNITA, such as Dambi near Uige and Vinte Cinco near Huambo.

In March 1997 violation flash points were the northern provinces of Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Uige, and Zaire provinces. There were also some seriousproblems in Huila and Benguela provinces. The government's FAA had been increasing troop concentrations on the periphery of the UNITA heartland since February and in May increased incursions into territory disputed with UNITA in Huila and in the Lunda provinces. By September the military situation was characterized by persistent tensions affecting almost the entire country, but particularly the provinces of Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, and Malanje. The fiercest fighting was in June when in a fortnight, the FAA captured an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the diamond producing areas controlled by UNITA in an operation that expanded government control over a corridor from Dundo to Luena. Most of the fighting was confined to the Lunda provinces but attacks were also made on UNITA positions in Bie, and later in Soyo (Zaire province) and Huila.

From July 1997 the Angolan presidency called for a military standoff, meanwhile lobbying hard at the international level for U.N. sanctions against UNITA.15 In August the Security Council threatened a further sanctions package against UNITA unless it fulfilled outstanding obligations under the Lusaka Protocol, such as handing over control of its territory to the government and fully demilitarizing. The additional threatened sanctions package included freezing UNITA bank accounts, blocking foreign travel by UNITA officials, and closing UNITA offices abroad.16

On September 29, the Security Council agreed unanimously to postpone for a month implementation of the sanctions, until October 30.17 Because UNITA failed to make further progress on its Lusaka Protocol obligations during October, the Security Council adopted unanimously Resolution 1135 on October 29, which imposed a new sanctions package on the travel of UNITA officials and ordered closure of all its offices abroad from 00.01 EST on October 30.18

Three weeks after the imposition of sanctions, UNITA severed almost all contacts with the government and the U.N. During November and early December there were persistent tensions, in particular in the Cuango and Lucapa (Lunda Norte Province) as well as Kuito, Huila, and Malanje provinces, the result of banditry and illegal troop movements. The free movement of people and goods continued to be impeded by checkpoints put up by both the government and UNITA. On November 28 government troops also forcibly took control of a number of the small diamond areas held by UNITA. However, by January 1998,tensions had eased, although there were continuing frictions between local government authorities and UNITA, especially in Malanje and Uige provinces. Checkpoints, set up by both the government and UNITA, continued to impede the free movement of people and goods.

The Government of National Unity

In March 1997 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan visited Angola, originally hoping to be present for the inauguration of the new government of national unity, but this was once more been delayed. In an effort to break the impasse Kofi Annan traveled to Bailundo on March 24 to meet with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi. Kofi Annan's visit to Angola did not provide instant results but did stimulate renewed attention to a number of issues, such as the status of Jonas Savimbi, the arrival of UNITA officials in Luanda, and the inauguration of a Government of Unity and National Reconciliation (GURN).

On April 9, 1997 the Angolan National Assembly took a major step forward with the swearing in of approximately sixty-three UNITA deputies. Five UNITA deputies who had been participating in the National Assembly since 1992 had earlier been denounced by Savimbi. The National Assembly has since been the scene of some heated debate, the first time since 1992, although votes have been clearly along party lines. The new Government of National Unity (GURN) was inaugurated on April 11. The leader of UNITA, Jonas Savimbi was not present at the ceremony, signaling his ambivalence to the government, which included representatives from MPLA, UNITA, and the Democratic Party of Angola (PDA).

The original date for the formation of this government had been January 1997, but this deadline was not met because of technical failures in the negotiations. Critical issues were the quality and quantity of housing for UNITA officials and the tolerable size of their political security force. A second deadline was set for the end of February. This passed, with the status of Jonas Savimbi as the central issue - an issue that remained a key negotiating point, with UNITA looking for the post to have direct military authority. The U.N. in December 1996 sought to divorce the issue of Savimbi's status from the formation of a government of national unity.

The last deadline was in March 1997. This provided the U.N. Security Council with additional time to pressure UNITA to comply with the schedule. It was evident that the U.N. was anxious to make the national unity government effective before its own mandate expired at the end of July and the phased withdrawal of its military forces. Perhaps because of international pressure and the change of government in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo ), elements of UNITA finally joined the national unity government in April. Parliamentaryelections, due to be held in 1996, were postponed for between two and four years under the terms of the Lusaka Protocol, and presidential elections would not be held until the U.N. determined that appropriate conditions existed.19

State Administration

The handover of control of local municipalities to the government was also slow. It began on April 30, 1997, but in May UNITA cited "technical reasons" when challenged over the delay in the handover of fifteen municipalities in Benguela province. Following U.N. and Troika (Russia, Portugal and U.S.) pressure on UNITA, the U.N. announced that the expansion of state administration would recommence on May 26 and Vila Nova, just east of Huambo, was handed over on May 28 to a high-level delegation. A few days later in Quibala district of Cuanza Sul, UNITA supporters protesting the handing over of territory to the government managed to assault and injure Isaias Samakuva, head of the UNITA delegation to the Joint Commission and N'zau Puna, a UNITA defector who had become a vice-minister for the Interior Ministry.20 For the rest of 1997 the normalization of state administration in UNITA-controlled areas proceeded at a very slow and uneven pace. The process was again suspended on November 1 but resumed on November 22. By January 8, 1998, central government authority had been established in 239 out of a total of 344 localities for which this was envisaged in the peace plan. State administration had been extended to three strategic areas: Cuango, Mavinga, and Negage. By May 1 some sixty localities remained in which central authority had not been established, including the UNITA strongholds of Andulo, Bailundo, Nharea, and Mongo.

Despite repeated calls by the U.N. for control of these four strongholds to be handed over to the government, UNITA kept dragging its heels with new excuses. Finally, on July 1, the rebels came under new sanctions, freezing their foreign bank accounts, banning their diamond exports, and preventing all air and water transport into and out of UNITA-held territories. Already on June 6 Savimbi had told his supporters in Bailundo, his stronghold in the central highlands, that U.N. sanctionswould be regarded as an attack on UNITA to which it "was ready to respond." According to the government, UNITA rebels had already acted, seizing fifty-five localities across the country since March.

In December 1997, Savimbi and dos Santos spoke on the telephone for the first time in many months. This was followed on January 9, 1998 by an agreement to complete implementation of the key outstanding elements of the Lusaka Protocol.21 This agreement was to:

I) To complete demobilization of UNITA's residual forces, including retirement of their generals.

Deadline: January 28, 1998

Responsibility: UNITA/government

ii) To determine the number of members of the UNITA president's personal bodyguard corps.

Deadline: January 21, 1998

Responsibility: UNITA/government

iii) Produce a declaration concerning the demilitarization of UNITA.

Deadline: January 31, 1998

Responsibility: UNITA

iv) To complete the legalization of UNITA.

Deadline: February 4, 1998

Responsibility: government

v) Promulgation of UNITA president's special status.

Deadline: February 9, 1998

Responsibility: government

vi) Conclusion of state administration extension.

Deadline: January 27, 1998

Responsibility: government/UNITA/MONUA

vii) Appointment of the governors, vice-governors, and ambassadors indicated by UNITA.

Deadline: February 6, 1998

Responsibility: government

viii) Disarming of the civilian population.

Deadline: ongoing from February 2, 1998

Responsibility: government

ix) Establishment of UNITA leadership in Luanda and extension of state administration to Andulo and Bailundo.

Deadline: February 28, 1998

Responsibility: UNITA/government/MONUA

x) Ending of UNITA's Vorgan radio broadcasts.

Deadline: open

Responsibility: UNITA

As with so many events in the Angolan peace process, the agreement fell behind schedule. But by the end of January 1998 it was agreed that the force level of Savimbi's bodyguard corps would start at 400, but would be reduced gradually to 150. A scheduled summit between Savimbi and dos Santos was to be their first face-to-face meeting since 1995. It would also be Savimbi's first visit to Luanda since September 1992. However, the visit never happened and in July many senior UNITA officials left Luanda for UNITA's HQ in Bailundo, only returning in late August. The period between late 1997 and mid-1998 was also marked by Special Representative Blondin Beye's absence from the scene for most of the time for treatment of a heart condition. His absence contributed to both sides becoming more intransigent.

The broader peace process and the development of a government of national unity, the demobilization of UNITA, and the full restoration of the state's administration over Angolan territory were due to be completed on February 28, 1998. However, UNITA had still not fulfilled its obligations by this time, so a new deadline was set for March 16, to be marked by the installation of UNITA's leadership in Luanda. When UNITA declared on March 6 that it had demilitarized all its forces, the government responded by legalizing UNITA as a political party and appointing three governors and seven vice-governors nominated by UNITA. Both sides also agreed on the list of six ambassadors nominated by UNITA. On March 31, a law granting special status to Savimbi as the leader of the largest opposition party was promulgated.

On April 1, Radio Vorgan, the UNITA radio station, ceased broadcasting. On the same day a UNITA delegation, led by Vice-President General Sebastião Dembo, arrived in Luanda to prepare for the reopening of UNITA's office on June 1. On April 8, it was agreed that the reduction of Savimbi's security detachment from 400 to 150 guards would take nine months, and that sixty-five out of 150 would be stationed in Luanda. The Angolan National Police also announced that it would form a 400-strong security detachment.

The April 1 deadline for the return of state administration was missed, with only 80 per cent of the 335 localities having been brought under governmentcontrol. Eight of the twelve strategic areas set to be handed back to the government were normalized by early June. The key outstanding areas of Andulo, Bailundo, Nharea, and Mongo in the center of the country remained the focus of negotiations. In May 1998, U.N. Special Representative Blondin Beye submitted a new timetable, calling for the former rebels to hand back the areas under their control by May 31. They did not comply, and UNITA requested more time. On May 31, the U.N. announced that UNITA had proposed that it should hand over the four remaining strongholds by June 25, and that technical preparations for the handover should be completed between June 17 and 21.

The death of U.N. Special Representative Blondin Beye in an air crash in Côte d'Ivoire on June 27 undermined U.N. mediation efforts. Beye, who was replaced by Issa Diallo of Guinea, had been on a trip to the West African states Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, and Burkina Faso to ask their governments to stop supporting UNITA. Following Beye's death, insecurity increased and UNITA reasserted itself in several areas, including Luau, Lumbala Nguimbo, and Cazombo in Moxico province.

UNITA again sought a delay in the handing over of the four strategic locations, and was given an extra ten days by the U.N. However, on July 1, when UNITA again requested at least two further weeks to withdraw, the U.N. lost its patience, and imposed a new package of sanctions on UNITA to try to force compliance. These appear to have had more impact as a moral statement than in forcing any change of behavior at ground level. UNITA remained firmly entrenched in these four locations.

Tensions Rise

In anticipation of the enhanced sanctions UNITA pulled out of the U.N.-chaired Joint Commission for two months in protest; upon its return in August UNITA said it would permit the extension of state administration by October 15. The government counterproposed an August 31 deadline; on that date it suspended UNITA from the national unity government on the grounds of noncompliance by UNITA with its commitments under the Lusaka Protocol.

In a related action, Jorge Valentim, and other UNITA members who had served in the government announced a split with Savimbi, launching a party called the Renovation Committee of UNITA. The government stated that it would only negotiate with this "new" UNITA and urged others to do the same. Although the Southern African Development Community (SADC) branded Jonas Savimbi a war criminal and threw its support behind the "new" UNITA, the group did not attract strong support inside Angola or outside SADC. Many of UNITA's seventy members of parliament disassociated themselves from the group (another thirteenwere not in Luanda and two were ill) and many other senior UNITA officials refused to support the breakaway group, despite threats and bribes by the government pressing them to do so. On September 2 police surrounded and took control of UNITA's headquarters in Luanda, allowing only supporters of the Valentim faction to enter the building. Senior police officers publicly said that anyone not with the Valentim group was a "political criminal."

The government also suspended the four ministers and seven vice-ministers that UNITA had designated to serve in the Government of Unity and National Reconciliation on September 1. The suspension was lifted on September 23, but the president dismissed one UNITA minister and one vice-minister the same day. On September 26, fifty-three UNITA deputies signed a declaration seeking clarification of the decision to suspend the ministers and reaffirmed that all seventy constituted the UNITA parliamentary group under the leadership of Abel Chivukuvuku. Chivukuvuku in a statement to the press declared that he had severed all contacts with Jonas Savimbi but said he did not intend to join the UNITA Renovation Committee.

In what appeared to be a premeditated attack, on October 2, Chivukuvuku's vehicle was shot at in front of his residence in Luanda. Chivukuvuku's wife and bodyguard were in the car but not hurt. According to the U.N., the Renovation Committee had asked the authorities to withdraw the security personnel from the residences of those UNITA deputies who did not support the Renovation Committee.22

UNITA's Renovation Committee held its general conference in Luanda in mid-October, at which it announced the setting up of a Provisional Political Committee to run the party. The conference also decided to retain all the UNITA deputies in the National Assembly, reversing an earlier decision to suspend fifteen of the seventy deputies.

On October 27 by a decision adopted by 115 votes in favor, none against and sixty-one abstentions the National Assembly abrogated the law granting a special status to Jonas Savimbi as the leader of the largest opposition party. The decision was attributed to Savimbi's failure to fulfill his party's obligations under the protocol. In this period the security situation was precarious, in particular in the northern and north-eastern regions where government and UNITA forces continued to conduct military operations.23

Return to War

The MPLA held its IV Congress in Luanda from December 5 to 10. At its opening President dos Santos stated that the only path to lasting peace was the total isolation of Jonas Savimbi and his movement. The president called for the termination of MONUA's mandate and an end to the Lusaka peace process. MONUA withdrew from all UNITA-held areas for safety on December 6.24

Just prior to the opening of the congress, the government launched a military offensive in central Angola with air raids on Bailundo and Mungo, followed by attacks on Andulo. Subsequently UNITA forces launched their own attacks and inflicted heavy casualties on the government's forces and on civilians. In the Huambo and Kuito sectors the government was forced to withdraw and in Kuito only escaped further losses because UNITA's mechanized units ran out of fuel. The widening hostilities spread, with laying of new mines and the indiscriminate shelling of Malanje, Kuito, and Huambo by long-range UNITA artillery.

Two U.N. aircraft were shot down near Huambo, on December 26 and on January 2, 1999, resulting in the deaths of fifteen passengers and eight crew members respectively. Both aircraft, chartered by MONUA, went down in areas of active military operations. The two Angolan parties denied any responsibility for these incidents and initially showed no inclination to assist search and rescue operations.25 U.N. investigations of the wreckage of both planes established that they had been tampered with and that there had been efforts to conceal them; the flight recorders had been removed.

On January 27, the National Assembly passed a resolution declaring Jonas Savimbi "a war criminal and international terrorist." It called for legal procedures leading to Jonas Savimbi and his direct collaborators being held accountable, in criminal and civil law, both nationally and internationally.

On January 29, President dos Santos appointed a new cabinet and temporarily assumed the functions of prime minister and commander-in-chief of the FAA. At the inauguration ceremony of the new government, the president stated that Angola had to wage war to achieve peace.26

On January 26 UNITA occupied the provincial capital of Mbanza Congo in the north, although this appears to have been retaken on February 12 by government forces. On January 30 UNITA captured the Capenda hydroelectric project, about 50 kilometers south-west of Malanje. After initial successes a second government offensive to capture Bailundo was stopped by UNITA in early March,resulting in a significant loss of equipment to the rebels and the reported loss of 1,000 men.27 Fighting continues in central and northern Angola at the time of writing and the government is preparing for a third offensive, Operation Cacimbo.

In June the ICRC reported that around Huambo "violent clashes, with numerous attacks and counterattacks, have left the civilian population feeling extremely insecure and have increased the number of displaced people. Certain surrounding towns, such as Gove, Sambo and Cuima are totally deserted - a new regional phenomenon."28

The effects of the conflict have led to more human displacement. According to the U.N. the number of internally displaced persons has reached nearly one million persons, 10 per cent of the total population, with additional flows of refugees into the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, and Zambia.

On July 24 the Angolan authorities issued an arrest warrant for UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi on charges that include rebellion, sabotage, murder, and torture. The warrant also accuses Savimbi of kidnapping, robbery, and the use of explosives - including planting landmines at sites used by civilians. The U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized this warrant saying it was "wrong," and that "you make peace with enemies, and to make peace you have to have communications, either directly or through third parties."29

Regional Adventures: Creating a Cordon-Sanitaire Around UNITA

As a corollary to the lack of confidence inside Angola, the Angolan government worked to build up a regional cordon-sanitaire to make UNITA's sanctions-busting efforts more difficult. This has resulted in Angolan military commitments in Congo-Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo and a series of threats of military action against Zambia.

During the Cold War, Zaire and its President Mobutu had been an important U.S. client and provided rear-base facilities for UNITA and the Cabindan separatists in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. With the end of the Cold War, Zaire continued to support UNITA, making large amounts of money out of UNITA's sanctions-busting activities, which involved supply lines for weapons and equipment and a marketing route for diamonds to Antwerp and elsewhere.

The civil war that broke out in 1997 in Zaire became in part an extension of the Angolan conflict. Until March 1997, UNITA fought for pro-Mobutu government forces against two battalions of Katangese Angolans (originally fromShaba province in Zaire). These had been sent by the Angolan government to help the rebel leader Laurent Kabila. When Kinshasa fell to the rebel forces and Zaire became the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNITA lost its supply lines, and its ability to hide troops over the border became severely limited. In December 1997, Kabila's security forces arrested the leading members of all the Cabindan separatist factions who resided in Kinshasa. Although released in February 1998, they are now closely monitored.

The relationship between Laurent Kabila and Luanda remains strong, although it has been under some strain in 1998. In August 1998 Luanda reengaged in the Democratic Republic of Congo with troops, tanks, and air support in support of President Kabila in the new Congo conflict. But by late February 1999, most of these troops had been withdrawn back to Angola because of the renewed war with UNITA rebels. In the July 1999 Democratic Republic of Congo peace accord UNITA combatants are named among the groups that need to be disarmed.

With the fall of Kinshasa, the focus moved across the Congo river to Congo-Brazzaville. President Pascal Lissouba allowed UNITA to use Brazzaville and Pointe Noire for sanction busting operations. UNITA soldiers fought for Lissouba in the civil war that had broken out between him and his rival, the former military dictator Denis Sassou-Nguesso. After three months of fighting several thousand Angolan troops moved into Congo-Brazzaville from Cabinda in support of Sassou-Nguesso. By October 15, 1997 elected president Pascal Lissouba had been overthrown and military leader Denis Sassou-Nguesso was again in power. At least 10,000 people died in this conflict and the Angolan troops then acted quickly against UNITA and Cabindan separatist forces. In May 1999 several hundred Angolan troops remain in Congo-Brazzaville.

A further move by the Angolan government to isolate and encircle UNITA was the hosting of a summit on October 27 at which a regional security pact was signed by the newly self-proclaimed president of Congo-Brazzaville, Denis Sassou Nguesso, President Omar Bongo of Gabon, and Laurent-Desire Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo. On April 8, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a general defense pact in Luanda. Following this agreement there have been press reports of Namibian and Zimbabwean troops deployed in northern Angola but these have not been independently verified and both the Zimbabwean and Namibian governments have denied they have any forces in Angola.30

Luanda's attention then moved to Zambia, where a number of senior government officials reportedly were helping UNITA break the sanctions. Bilateralrelations are poor and the Lusaka government has blamed Angola for being involved in the abortive coup attempt of junior officers on 28 October, 1997. Zambian officials privately acknowledged that they feared that Luanda might intervene in Zambia in the way they did in Congo-Brazzaville. Although the Zambian government has tightened up on sanctions-busting, some UNITA traffic appears to have continued to transit Zambia for UNITA areas in 1998.

7 Le Monde, (Paris), February 16, 1995.

8 "Press Conference by Eugenio Manuvakola, Former UNITA Secretary General Regarding his Escape from UNITA," transcript published in, Jornal de Angola, (Luanda), August 28, 1997.

9 Protocolo de Lusaka (Amsterdam: AWEPA/ African-European Institute, 1996).

10 Protocolo de Lusaka, Anexo 6, Ponto II.4 Da Agenda de Trabalhos A Reconciliação Nacional, Princípios Gerais 1.5 (Amsterdam: AWEPA/ African-European Institute, 1996).

11 Human Rights Watch Arms Project and Human Rights Watch/Africa, "Angola: Between War and Peace; Arms Trade and Human Rights Abuses since the Lusaka Protocol," A Human Rights Watch Report, February 1996, vol.8, no.1 (A).

12 Alex Vines, "Mercenaries and the Privatisation of Security in Africa," in, Greg Mills and John Stremlau (eds.), The Privatisation of Security in Africa (Johannesburg: South African Institute of International Affairs, 1999) pp.47-80.

13 Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch World Report 1998 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997).

14 Ibid.

15 Paul Hare, Angola's Last Best Chance for Peace: An Insider's Account of the Peace Process (Washington DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1998).

16 U.N. Security Council Resolution 1127 (1997) of August 28, 1997.

17 U.N. Security Council Resolution 1130 (1997) of September 29, 1997.

18 U.N. Security Council Resolution 1135 (1997) of October 29, 1997.

19 Norrie MacQueen, "Peacekeeping by attrition: the United Nations in Angola," Journal of Modern African Studies, vol.36, no.3, September 1998.

20 Samakuva was hospitalized briefly. Human Rights Watch saw a video recording of this assault. Given the tight authoritarian manner which UNITA operates, this assault is likely to have been premeditated and it was a significant error in the peace process that no effort was ever made to bring the assailants to book: it underscored that the U.N. was prepared to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses, even attacks on senior officials captured on camera.

21 Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Watch World Report 1999 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1998).

22 U.N. Document S/1998/931, October 8, 1998.

23 U.N. Document S/1998/1110, November 23, 1998.

24 U.N. Document S/1999/49, January 17, 1999.

25 Human Rights Watch interview with U.N. official, January 15, 1999.

26 Jornal de Angola (Luanda), January 30, 1999.

27 Economist (London), April 24, 1999.

28 `Update No. 99/03 on ICRC activities in Angola,' June 22, 1999.

29 Público (Lisbon), July 25, 1999; Agence France-Presse, July 28, 1999.

30 Xinhua news agency, May 3, 1999.

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