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Vol 40 No 20

Published 8th October 1999


Stolen stones

Government and UNITA soldiers fight for the diamonds - and occasionally share them

As the United Nations struggles to impose sanctions on Angola's rebel diamond-smugglers, the government says it is tightening its chaotic system for certifying the stones. The old system is full of loopholes for smugglers of the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola; diamonds from UNITA areas reach Luanda, where government-issued certificates of origin are offered for sale. Some industry sources go further and allege connivance between some senior government officials and UNITA smugglers. The new certificates, harder to forge, will still need proper policing. The big question is who signs and controls the distribution of the certificates; the government's reply has not yet been made public.

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