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Vol 39 No 5

Published 6th March 1998


Savimbi's last stand

A weakened UNITA defies the UN timetable and risks a government offensive

Jonas Savimbi is circling the wagons around the planalto heartland of his rebel União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola. In the last few weeks of February when UNITA was supposed to be completing implementation of the 1994 Lusaka Peace Accords, Savimbi’s troops dug in to block land access to his movement’s strategic redoubts in Biéprovince-UNITA’s HQ at Bailundo and its air supply base at Andulo - and to keep his military option, however dwindling, alive. Thus, UNITA is refusing to relinquish to state control a series of towns which effectively form a protective umbrella around Bailundo and Andulo. To the northwest, UNITA troops continue to hold Mussende in Kwanza Sul province, to the west Mungo in Huambo province, to the north N’harea in Bié province, and to the east Luquembo and Quirima in southern Malanje province, where in late February they blew up at least two bridges and fired on a United Nations helicopter sent to inspect the damage.

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