Recruitment and Regrouping of Troops by UNITA

UN Document
Originally published
Report Prepared By
P V Sibanda, Major General - Force Commander
MONUA - United Nations Observer Mission in Angola

A. Meeting on demobilization held in the Joint Commission Building on 31 July 1997.


1. Besides the incidents of banditry that some UNITA elements have been involved in since the commencement of the implementation of the peace process, the recent events that have been witnessed or reported and confirmed by UNAVEM and later MONUA on UNITA activities are a new phenomenon that needs to be addressed urgently. Changes of destination of demobilized UNITA troops started from the time the demobilization process commenced although the changes were few and isolated. However, from late May 1997 massive changes were observed and this is still going on. MONUA also started receiving reports of UNITA troop movements, recruitment and regrouping.


2. MONUA has received a number of reports about forced recruitment by UNITA and MONUA has carried out investigations on all the allegations. Although most of the allegations were not confirmed it should be noted that all the alleged cases were in UNITA controlled areas and the people in these areas were reluctant to give information about any other activities in their areas apart from their routine activities.

3. One case of forced recruitment by UNITA was however confirmed to have taken place around Cubal and Ganda areas in Benguela Province where about 200 young men were forcibly recruited and taken to Bailundo. Twelve of these young men escaped and were picked up by an ANP truck which took them to Huambo and MONUA interviewed them on 29 July. The Joint Commission denounced this act of forced recruitment by UNITA at its Follow Up Meeting on 08 August 1997. Other cases of recruitment that were reported to MONUA and are still under investigation are:

a. Camaxilo, in the North-Eastern Region and reported by Government on 04 July 97.

b. Longa, in the South-Eastern Region and reported by the local administrator of Longa Mr. Fernando Tanga on 29 July 97.

c. Sanga, in the Central Region and reported by a UNITA demobilized soldier on 02 August 97.

d. Matala, in the Southern Region and reported by villagers who had fled from the affected area on 05 August 97.


4. MONUA received allegations about the existence of 09 UNITA training camps in various parts of the country. Aerial and ground verifications were done by MONUA but most of them could not be confirmed. The existence of all these training camps was reported by former UNIA soldiers and recruits who had run away from UNITA.

5. MONUA confirmed the existence of 01 UNITA training camp at Fazenda Luiz Grilo, about 20 kms north-east of Sanza Pombo and 02 kms north-west of Quingando. The source of the information was Lt. Severino Sucupia, a former UNITA officer who defected to FAA on 08 August 97. MONUA members of Uige interviewed the officer on 13 August at 1900 hrs. He told the MONUA team that he and many other UNITA soldiers wanted to be quartered but UNITA commanders did not allow them to go to the quartering areas. He remained in Negage until March 1997 when he was moved to Quingando Unza together with 249 others to undergo training at Fazenda Luiz Grilo a UNITA training camp which is located under thick bushes. He said that he was in the second intake which trained from March to May 97 while the first intake of 250 did its training from January 1997 to March 1997. The third intake of 250 was trained from May to July 1997 and currently demobilized soldiers were being trained at the camp. He further said that the camp was initially meant for soldiers who were not quartered. According to him, the camp is under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Tenangonga and three other instructors and trainees are accommodated in 10 tents which take 24 men each. The camp is also said to be having good radio communications with Negage and the camp is forewarned by Negage if a helicopter is seen flying towards the direction of the camp. On completion of training the soldiers are deployed at Negage, Bungo, Camabatela, Bairro Aldein, Dambi Culo, Senga and Quisseque.

6. After the interview with the former UNITA Lt. Severino Sucupia, a MONUA verification team flew to Fazenda Luiz Grilo on 14 August 97. The team located the place but could not land due to the thick bushes under which the camp was sited but they hovered for 30 minutes at very low altitude. The team confirmed the existence of the camp because they observed signs of human presence at the location. They saw 10 thatched huts, some paths which showed signs of use, a fireplace which looked fresh and a woodpile close by the fireplace. They also observed that the surroundings of the huts were cleared of grass and appeared clean. The team confirmed presence of military activities when they observed trenches which were dug in a zig-zag manner facing south-east towards Qunigando Unza village. The team finally landed at Quingando Unza village where they spoke to the villagers. The villagers said they had never visited Fazenda Luiz Grilo and when pressed further they did not respond and they appeared to be scared. See Annex A for the location of the camp.

7. Observations that have been made by MONUA are that UNITA is training two categories of people. The first category comprises the training of UNITA soldiers who were never quartered while the second category is the training of those people who were quartered but later demobilized. MONUA takes this as a clear case of remobilization of troops by UNITA.

8. Other locations that were reported as having UNITA training bases but are still being investigated are:

a. Caculama, in the North-Eastern Region - reported by former UNITA Major Abilio Vidal Abilio and Sergeant Anibal Domingos on 25 June 97.

b. Cambundi Catembo, in the North-Eastern Region - reported by former UNITA Major Abilio Vidal Abilio and Sergeant Anibal Domingos on 25 June 97.

c. N'gombe, in the North-Eastern Region - reported by former UNITA Major Abilio Vidal Abilio and Sergeant Anibal Domingos on 25 June 97.

d. Calandula, in the North-Eastern Region - reported by former UNITA Major Abilio Vidal Abilio and Sergeant Anibal Domingos on 25 June 97.

e. Quela, in the North-Eastern Region - reported by a demobilized UNITA soldier on 01 August 97.

f. Satchole, in the Central Region - reported on 29 July 97 by twelve UNITA recruits who ran away from Bailundo.

g. Sanga, in the Central Region - reported by a demobilized UNITA soldier on 02 August 97.

h. Capanda, in the North-Eastern Region - reported by a UNITA deserter on 11 August 97. A verification patrol by MONUA on 14 August was thwarted by a UNITA Liaison Officer who refused to allow the verification team to visit the area because, according to him, Bailundo had not cleared the verification visit. MONUA believes that this was meant to buy time in order to cover up any incriminating evidence against UNITA in this area.


8. A sudden rise in reports of UNITA troop concentrations and forced changes in the destinations of demobilized troops by UNITA authorities was observed towards the end of May. The presence of armed UNITA troops was reported and confirmed by MONUA at Luau in Moxico Province, Calibuitchi in Lunda Norte Province and the Mussende area in Cuanza Sul Province. Other areas where UNITA troop movements were reported are as follows:

a. Atome 50 kms north-west of Balombo in Benguela Province
b. Chingongo near Balombo in Benguela Province
c. Vinti Cinco near Cuima in Huambo Province
d. Calochapa (Negola) 50 kms east of Quilengues in Huila Province
e. Cambana Cawanza 40 kms north of Luzamba in Lunda Norte Province
f. Tchiluage in Lunda Sul Province
g. Dambi near Negage in Uige Province.

9. After MONUA had received a number of reports alleging forced changes in the destinations of the demobilized UNITA troops in various SDCs, MONUA conducted an analysis of this exercise in two SDCs of Catala and Chitembo in order to establish the facts about this issue. MONUA has since confirmed that at these SDCs some of the demobilized soldiers were sent to destinations they had not initially chosen. They were sent to new areas that were chosen by UNITA authorities and below are some of the locations where demobees were sent to:

a. Catala

(1) Catala - 48 (Initially they had chosen to go to 31 other places).
(2) Caxinga - 18 (Initially they had chosen to go to 17 other places).
(3) Cambundi Catembo - 31 (Initially they had chosen to go to 07 other places).
(4) Kangandala - 48 (Initially they had chosen to go to 32 other places).
(5) Quela - 13 (Initially they had chosen to go to 10 other places).
(6) Mucari - 121 (Initially they had chosen to go to 78 other places).

b. Chitembo

(1) Cachingues - 30 (Initially they had chosen 11 other places).
(2) Cangote - 115 (Initially they had chosen 44 other places).
(3) Chicala - 784 (Initially they had chosen 10 other places).
(4) Chitembo - 324 (Initially they had chosen 106 other places).
(5) Mumbue - 17 (Initially they had chosen 15 other places).
(6) Mutumbo - 21 (Initially they had chosen 16 other places).

See Annex for the new locations of demobees from Catala and Chitembo SDCs.


5. Reports on UNITA training camps and forced recruitment have been investigated and one case of forced recruitment has been confirmed, and one case of the existence of a training camp where both unquartered and demobilized UNITA troops are being trained has been confirmed. MONUA believes that there could be more training camps and if these camps are not in the areas that have been reported to MONUA then they must be in some other areas that MONUA is unaware of, but there is no doubt that they exist, especially given the size of the land space controlled by UNITA and the nature of the vegetation in some of these areas.

6. With regards to regrouping, this has been confirmed beyond any doubt in the Catala and Chitembo areas, where a clear pattern of deployment of the demobees by UNITA has emerged. This and the forced recruitment and the confirmed existence of at least one training camps casts doubt on UNITA's commitment to peace. These actions by UNITA should be denounced in the strongest terms as UNITA cannot expect to participate in the structures of the GURN, yet at the same time run a private army on the side and continue to control large areas of the country.

P V Sibanda
Major General
Force Commander

Luanda, 19 August 1997