Angola: December 27, 1999


: The Angolan government's fall offensive is entering its final phases as the Angolan army solidifies its positions along the Angolan-Namibian border. The intent is two-fold: destroy UNITA supply centers then seal the border. Sealing the border essentially splits UNITA. While UNITA still controls diamond mines and timber assets in eastern Angola, sealing the Namibian border makes it that much harder to turn natural resources into cash for buying arms and paying troops. It also cuts UNITA off from its personnel sources. On December 23 Angolan government (MPLA) forces took control of an island in the Kavango River, along the Namibian and Angolan border. UNITA had used the island as a supply dump and border control point. A South African source said approximately 1600 MPLA soldiers are now operating in Namibia. On December 26 the MPLA said their units had taken the town of Jamba, UNITA's former "capital city" and the long-time location of Radio Vorgan, the "voice of UNITA." Namibia's SWAPO government is allowing Angolan government forces to pursue retreating UNITA guerrillas as well as occupy the area along the border that has served as a UNITA resupply zone. Namibia has decided the MPLA has won; the Namibian government also argues that it is living up to the mutual defense pact it signed with Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Zimbabwe in April 1999. The mutual defense agreement said the nations would support one another if they face "internal or external aggression." Namibia also believes UNITA has helped support Namibian rebels in the Caprivi Strip (northeast Angola). However, open MPLA-UNITA combat inside Namibia further extends "The Great Central African War" that now runs from southern Sudan to Namibia, a swath of violence. (Austin Bay)


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