Marek News Briefs: Angola 27 Dec 1999

Angolan military forces (FAA) have announced the capture of the traditional UNITA stronghold at Jamba in southeast Angola, and say they have secured the entire border with Namibia, meaning that UNITA will be hard-pressed to fall back into Namibian territory. AP has reported that Namibian Defense Forces (NDF) participated with their FAA ally in the operation. Reuters reported on December 27 that Angolan state radio said 200 UNITA soldiers were captured in the process. Nothing has yet been confirmed independently, though UNITA officials abroad have confirmed the loss of Jamba and there is no reason to doubt the announcements by the FAA. A UNITA representative based in Lisbon conceded that Jamba had fallen, but he said it was not really a setback for the rebels. Carlos Morgado told Portuguese state radio, "Jamba was a symbol of the UNITA resistance until the (1991) peace accord. Today, it has neither political nor military significance." It is located in a sparsely forested plain and had an airstrip and weapons depots. Collin McClelland reported for Reuters on December 25 that Radio Nacional said, citing a source authorized by the FAA, "The Angola armed forces are in power of the former UNITA headquarters, Jamba. The source has confirmed the news that began to circulate yesterday (December 24). The same source said the FAA is continuing to put pressure on and clean up some pockets of Savimbi's forces." McClelland reported that some 1,600 Namibian troops now patrol the border with Namibia. In reading and listening to Angolan government announcements about its string of victories against UNITA, one is forced to conclude that the government feels it has pretty well defeated UNITA and neutralized its conventional warfighting capacity, leaving it with only a guerrilla warfare capability. Because of these government announcements, it is assumed that the dos Santos government will soon revert to police action against the remaining UNITA elements and press forward with delivering improved governance and improved economic conditions to the country. However, one is mindful of the saying, "Don't assume nothing."

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