TITLE=ANGOLA / WAR (L-ONLY)
INTRO: A top official of Angola's UNITA rebel
movement says rebel forces will fight on despite
the loss of their key strongholds in the
country's Central Highlands. More from V-O-A
Southern Africa Correspondent Alex Belida.
TEXT: Breaking a nearly weeklong rebel silence,
UNITA General Paolo Lukamba Gato admits rebel
forces have lost the strongholds of Andulo and
But in a satellite telephone interview with V-O-A
(Portuguese Service), General Gato contends the
two towns in Angola's embattled Central Highlands
were abandoned by the rebels for strategic
He says UNITA forces remain intact and intend to
Angolan authorities announced the capture of
Andulo and Bailundo earlier this week. Angolan
and Portuguese journalists have been taken to the
two towns to confirm that they are under
government control. But until now, UNITA has had
The whereabouts of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi and
other top rebel figures, including General Gato,
remain unknown. General Gato declined to say in
his interview where he was speaking from.
Meanwhile, Angolan armed forces Chief of Staff
General Joao de Matos has acknowledged that the
capture of Andulo and Bailundo does not mean
the country's long and bloody civil war is over.
But he is quoted by Angola's state news agency
(ANGOP) as vowing government troops will press on
with their offensive against UNITA.
Analysts have described the fall of Andulo and
Bailundo as mainly of symbolic importance. They
believe rebel forces still remain capable of
staging guerrilla attacks.
Angola's civil war resumed late last year after
the government in Luanda accused UNITA of failing
to comply with the terms of a 1994 United Nations
brokered peace agreement. (Signed)
22-Oct-1999 12:41 PM EDT (22-Oct-1999 1641 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list