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DATE=1/26/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-244703 TITLE=ANGOLA/WAR (S-L) BYLINE=ALEX BELIDA DATELINE=LUANDA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: ANGOLA'S DEFENSE MINISTER IS CLAIMING SUCCESS IN THE LATEST FIGHTING BETWEEN GOVERNMENT FORCES AND REBELS OF THE "UNITA" MOVEMENT. MORE FROM V-O-A CORRESPONDENT ALEX BELIDA IN THE ANGOLAN CAPITAL, LUANDA. TEXT: DEFENSE MINISTER PEDRO SEBASTIAO CLAIMS GOVERNMENT FORCES HAVE DESTROYED BETWEEN 60 AND 70 PERCENT OF THE FIGHTING CAPACITY OF UNITA. BUT THE MINISTER TELLS ANGOLA'S PARLIAMENT TENSIONS REMAIN HIGH AROUND THE COUNTRY, AND THE REBELS REMAIN A THREAT. //OPT// AS AN EXAMPLE, HE SAYS UNITA ON TUESDAY SHELLED THE IMPORTANT NORTHERN TOWN OF M'BANZA CONGO. //END OPT// STILL, THE MINISTER CONTENDS THAT WHAT HE CALLS THE MOST DIFFICULT PHASE OF THE WAR THAT REIGNITED LATE LAST YEAR IS NOW OVER. // OPT // HE SAYS GOVERNMENT TROOPS HAVE REESTABLISHED FIRM CONTROL AROUND THE PREVIOUSLY REBEL-THREATENED CITIES OF CUITO AND HUAMBO IN ANGOLA'S CENTRAL HIGHLANDS. // OPT // UNITA ATTACKED THE TWO KEY CITIES AFTER GOVERNMENT TROOPS LAUNCHED AN ABORTIVE ASSAULT AGAINST THE REBELS' NEARBY CENTRAL HIGHLANDS STRONGHOLDS. // END OPT // THE FIGHTING SHATTERED A FOUR-YEAR-OLD U-N BACKED PEACE EFFORT IN ANGOLA. ANGOLAN AUTHORITIES NOW WANT THE LAST U-N PEACE MONITORS TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY. THEY HAVE ALSO SEVERED ALL CONTACTS WITH UNITA LEADER JONAS SAVIMBI, WHOM THEY CALL A WAR CRIMINAL. (SIGNED) NEB/BEL/PCF/JO 26-Jan-99 11:36 AM EST (1636 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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