Angola

Angola: Security compromises humanitarian relief

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JOHANNESBURG, 13 January (IRIN) - Humanitarian sources in Angola reported increased tension this week in the two provinces bordering Namibia and Zambia in the wake of a three-month government offensive against UNITA rebels.
In the southeast Cuando Cubango province which shares borders with Namibia's tense Caprivi Strip, the Luanda sources reported cross border operations and "intense" military movements. They also reported an increase in landmine accidents along the main highway leading through the neighbouring province of Menongue.

The sources said UN and NGO staff had been urged to "exercise extreme caution" before travelling in Moxico province which borders Zambia. Although no cross-border incidents had been reported, they said tension along the Zambian border was growing.

Elsewhere in Angola, humanitarian agencies were seeking to check reports that a commercial convoy of 12 lorries had been ambushed in the western Benguela Province between Coporola and Chongoroi. The incident on 8 January, they said could affect access to displaced people camped in and around Chongoroi.

In the central highlands, fighting was reported in the Camacupa area about 100 km northeast of Bie provincial capital, Kuito. From Friday, they said Kuito airport would be closed for at least a week while the tarmac is renovated. In neighbouring Huambo Province, where attacks were reported in towns retaken during the offensive, 10 people were reported killed on 5 January in an ambush on commercial vehicles along the main road linking the province with the coast. WFP had decided to suspend road convoys in the area until security improved.

Further north, in the Malanje area 350 km east of the capital, Luanda, "the security situation continues to be reported very tense". People were reportedly fleeing their homes in Caculama, Cambundi, and Catembo. Earlier this week, the government announced the resumption of flights by the Angolan national airlines to Malanje city.

[ENDS]

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Item: irin-english-2270

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