Angola: Zimbabwe, Namibia to join anti-UNITA offensive, Luanda says
The decision was taken earlier this month in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by military chiefs of Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the reports said. The aim of the operation is to drive out UNITA and rebels of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from the northern Angolan town of Maquela do Zombo.
According to Luanda, the town's airport has become a supply route for UNITA with planes landing from a number of African countries linked to rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. Diplomatic sources told IRIN that UNITA managed to capture Maquela do Zombo with the help of Rwandan and DRC rebel troops.
The announcement of a planned joint offensive follows the signing in Luanda last week of a defence pact between Angola, DRC, Namibia and Zimbabwe. However, according to Phyllis Johnson, director of the Harare-based Southern African Documentation and Research Centre, combined operations against UNITA are unlikely to be imminent.
"There is a general agreement but the details are still under discussion," she told IRIN.
The Angolan media reports made no mention of the likely size of the Zimbabwe and Namibian troop contributions to Angola's war effort. But, Johnson pointed out, both countries had few troops to spare for operations in northern Angola.
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