TITLE=ANGOLA / UNITA (L ONLY)
INTRO: Angola's UNITA rebel movement has dismissed as
a propaganda trick government claims that its leader,
Jonas Savimbi, is calling for an immediate cease-fire
in the country's civil war. V-O-A Correspondent Alex
Belida reports from our Southern Africa bureau.
TEXT: UNITA spokesmen in Portugal are quoted by news
agencies as dismissing as a "fake" a purported letter
from rebel leader Jonas Savimbi to Angolan President
Jose Eduardo Dos Santos.
A senior Angolan government official tells V-O-A there
is such a letter but refuses to make it public or to
reveal its contents.
However the Portuguese news agency LUSA, quoting an
official source in Luanda, reports Mr. Savimbi calls
in the letter for an "immediate truce" to facilitate
talks aimed at ending the current fighting. LUSA
quotes the source as saying the government is
evaluating the letter and that no reply has yet been
But UNITA spokesmen in Lisbon tell news agencies there
is no such letter. They call it "a propaganda
UNITA fighters and government troops have been locked
in an apparently fierce battle around the rebels'
Central Highlands stronghold of Bailundo. Government
sources have said in recent days that the town has
fallen, but UNITA has repeatedly denied the reports.
There has been no independent confirmation of the
However a senior UNITA official, in a statement this
week, says there has been heavy loss of life and
property since government troops launched their latest
offensive against rebel positions last month.
UNITA Foreign Affairs Secretary Alcides Sakala says
entire villages have been destroyed by napalm and
phosphorus bombs dropped by government aircraft.
Mr. Sakala says UNITA continues to favor what he terms
"peace through dialogue." But the UNITA official
charges President Dos Santos remains committed to what
he calls "policies of genocide and total war."
07-Oct-1999 12:02 PM EDT (07-Oct-1999 1602 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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