The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military



DATE=1/20/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=ANGOLA / UNITA (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-258263 BYLINE=ALEX BELIDA DATELINE=JOHANNESBURG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Angola's UNITA rebel movement says United Nations officials are deluding themselves if they think sanctions against rebel forces will bring about an early end to the nation's civil war. V-O-A Southern Africa Correspondent Alex Belida spoke with a top UNITA official by telephone and has this (exclusive) report from Johannesburg. TEXT: UNITA Foreign Secretary Alcides Sakala says the chairman of the U-N Sanctions Committee for Angola is dreaming if he believes sanctions have weakened the rebels militarily. He says Canadian Ambassador Robert Fowler has been deceived by Angolan government authorities. Mr. Sakala tells V-O-A the latest offensive by government troops has failed completely in its objective of killing or capturing UNITA's top leaders and destroying the rebels' capacity to fight. Speaking by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location inside Angola, Mr. Sakala says UNITA forces have now counter-attacked around the country, striking at government forces and even downing a government military aircraft. However, the UNITA official denies responsibility for the downing one year ago of two United Nations planes. In videotaped interviews played to the Security Council this week, former UNITA soldiers claimed the rebels shot down the transport aircraft. But Mr. Sakala says these were statements by prisoners of war forced to say what their captors want them to say. Mr. Sakala charges the Angolan government shot down the U-N planes as part of its effort to force U-N peacekeepers out of the country. The U-N peacekeeping mission in Angola was shut down last year. Mr. Sakala also accuses Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of participating in what he describes as the destabilization of Southern Africa by taking the conflict into Namibia. He charges that Mr. Dos Santos is now trying to drag Zambia into the war by staging cross-border provocations that are blamed on UNITA - an apparent reference to recent attacks on several Zambian villages allegedly carried out by the Angolan rebels. He urges Zambian President Frederick Chiluba to be vigilant. Mr. Sakala denies UNITA forces have been active in either Namibia or Zambia. However the UNITA foreign secretary acknowledges the rebels have suffered heavy losses in southeastern Angola near the border with both countries. He accuses President Dos Santos of pursuing a policy of killing anyone associated with UNITA and even desecrating rebel graveyards. Still, Mr. Sakala tells V-O-A the rebels remain ready to discuss their differences with the Angolan government, which has ruled out any further negotiations with UNITA. As he puts it,





NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list