Angola: Security situation deteriorates

JOHANNESBURG, 9 March (IRIN) - The security situation in Angola has continued to deteriorate because of increased attacks against villagers, the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said in its situation report this week.
WFP said that the attacks have been "particularly severe" in the northern Uige Province and in the north and northwestern parts of Malanje in the central highlands.

"Insecurity will most probably continue for the rural population, resulting in increased displacements of people," WFP said.

In Cubal, in the central part of the coastal Benguela Province, a number of attacks were reported during the first week of March. An attack on 1 March on the Cassiva commune in Cubal, left seven dead and several others injured. "As a result, the activities of NGO's operating in Cassiva were suspended," WFP said.

Ongoing military operations to the east of Matala in the southern Huila Province have provoked a new influx of internally displaced people (IDP's) into Matala.

In the southern Kuando Kubango Province, the road between the capital Menogue and Cuchi to the east is unsafe because of continued skirmishes and recently laid landmines.

In Moxico Province in the east, there were reports of 663 new IDP's in the provincial capital Luena. The IDP's, WFP said came from Cagumbe.

In the northern Uige Province, an attack on 4 March on Bungo northeast of the provincial capital Uige was likely to result in the influx of IDP's into Uige and south into Negage, WFP noted.

Heavy fighting has been reported in the Cacolo municipality, between Cucumbi and Alto Chicapa in the eastern Lunda Sul Province.

In their intelligence update the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) said: "There are reports of continuous UNITA rebel movement operations in the provinces if Uige, Cuanza Norte, Cuanza Sul, Bie, Huambo, Benguela, Huila, Kuanda Kubango and Cunene."

The SAIIA said that fighting between government soldiers and UNITA had intensified in Kuando Kubango.

It added: "Indeed, far from being a defeated force, UNITA appears to be stepping up its activities." It said that there "indications" that UNITA was preparing for another guerrilla campaign.

UNITA has apparently, according to the SAIIA, completed the restructuring and redeployment of its forces, including units in the Kuanda Kubango Province, and a significant part of its conventional forces north of the Kwanza river.

The report said delegates at a meeting of the ruling MPLA party's central committee felt that a "military option remained the only solution to the ongoing crisis".


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