Namibia + 4 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 2 February

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NAMIBIA: Angola border attack
Soldiers of Namibia's elite Special Field Force (SFF) shot and killed a commander of the Angolan rebel movement UNITA and captured another in a skirmish along the Angolan border, media reports said.

According to 'The Namibian' the clash occurred some 270 km east of the Kavango regional capital Rundu on Tuesday when suspected UNITA rebels attacked an SFF base. "During the attack the rebels reportedly opened fire with RPG-7s and rained 60 millimetre mortars and automatic fire on the SFF bush encampment," the newspaper said quoting a police spokesman.

In recent weeks, UNITA rebels have escalated attacks against both civilians and security forces along the Namibian border. The attacks intensified after the government allowed Angolan soldiers to use Namibian territory in an offensive against rebel strongholds in southern Angola.

NAMIBIA: Opposition seeks curb in EU aid

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) has said it will petition the European Union (EU) to stop its aid to Namibia because of the country's involvement in the Angolan conflict.

DTA president Katuutire Kaura told parliament that Namibia has enough money to spend on "useless wars" as demonstrated by last week's budget in which nearly half additional budgetary funds available to the government were earmarked for military expenditure. "I do not regret saying this, because I will only regret it if I keep quiet while watching Namibia being governed like someone's fief or farm," he said.

SWAZILAND: Investment inflows slow down

Swaziland has failed to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, with investors prefering to invest in South Africa, the tiny kingdom's neighbour, news reports said.

The Swaziland Central Bank's 1998/1999 annual report said the slowdown in the inflow of FDI has led to the decline in the country's economic growth from 3.7 percent in 1997 to 2.3 percent in 1998. "Viewed against an estimated population growth of 2.7 percent per annum, this implies further worsening of the standard of living of the average Swazi people," the Central Bank said.

SOUTH AFRICA: Hain urges companies to invest

Peter Hain, the South African-born British Minister for Africa, on Wednesday urged British companies to invest in South Africa, predicting that the country would become one of the top destinations for foreign capital during the next decade.

Addressing the South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg, Hain reportedly said: "South Africa has an increasingly strong economy. It's a great place to do business in. We are encouraging British companies to look positively at the exciting opportunities available here."

Hain praised the government's economic team of Trade and Industry and Finance ministers Alec Erwin and Trevor Manuel, adding that over the next decade or so, South Africa will prove to be one of the foremost destinations for investments, both direct and portfolio.

MOZAMBIQUE: RENAMO threat to declare own government

The leader of Mozambique's opposition RENAMO, Afonso Dhlakama, has threatened to proclaim a RENAMO government later this month in the six provinces that the party won a majority in the December elections, PANA reported on Wednesday.

Dhlakama reportedly demanded that there should be a recount of the votes, failing which fresh elections should be held after the rainy season. He said if these demands are not met, RENAMO would proceed to set up its own government in those parts of the country where it is the majority party.

Dhlakama's threats follow the dismissal of his party's petition to the Supreme Court to order a recount of the votes, in which RENAMO argued that the ruling FRELIMO party of President Joaquim Chissano rigged the elections.

[ENDS]

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