Angola + 3 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 31 January

News and Press Release
Originally published
ZAMBIA: Villages attacked on Angolan border
Unknown gunmen on Saturday attacked villages in Zambia's southwestern Chavuma district on the border with Angola for a second time this month, beating up people and rustling cattle, 'The Post' newspaper reported on Monday.

The newspaper quoted a policeman at the nearby Zambezi police post as saying: "The problem is that we do not know whether they are UNITA rebels that have continued to attack the villagers or its (Angolan) government soldiers that have run short of supplies and are resorting to Zambians for food."

Meanwhile, humanitarian sources told IRIN that on at least one occasion, UNITA rebels have tried to recruit from among thousands of Angolan refugees stranded further south at Sinjembela.

ZIMBABWE: Customs Union trade with Zimbabwe drops

Southern African Customs Union (SACU) exports to Zimbabwe dropped by nearly eight percent last year and economists say that there could an even greater decline this year if the country's economic woes continue. The Southern African Customs Union is made up of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. South Africa accounts for most of the exports to Zimbabwe - its biggest trading partner in Africa. South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation said that Customs Union exports to Zimbabwe totalled an estimated US $800,000 last year.

SOUTH AFRICA: Trade unions begin mass action

South African trade unions kicked off a month of mass action to protest against rising unemployment levels and poverty, media reports said on Monday. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) was quoted as saying there would be a staggered mass action campaign and it would affect workers in the textile, automobile, metal and leather sectors. It said that workers in the banking, beverages, food and service sectors would also be called upon to join the strike. COSATU said that further mass action would follow in March and that it planned a national strike in May.


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