Angola: February 9, 2000


A UNITA spokesman said that UNITA forces had killed 882 Angolan government troops in 60 different attacks conducted between January 10 and February 3. The spokesman said that UNITA had shot down an Angolan government MI-17 helicopter and an AN-12 transport plane. In an earlier report, South Africa's Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said at a press briefing that she doesn't believe an Angolan government victory over UNITA will bring peace to Angola. Ms Dlamini-Zuma said that she doesn't believe a military solution is possible. She said that even if the Angolan government militarily defeated UNITA (a prospect she said she doubts will occur) "a portion of the Angolan people supports UNITA." She said that means negotiations must take place. Her biggest concern was that if the war continues (as she thinks it will) it could drag other southern African nations into it. (One suspects she sees Angola as a potential Congo for southern Africa.) South African Defense Minister Patrick Lekota said that the press reports that UNITA had been badly hurt in the Angolan government offensive could be "misleading." South Africa's former president, Nelson Mandela, told another group of journalists that even if the Angolan government (MPLA) position is strong at the moment, that as of now there had been no "major battle." Mandela said "Savimibi (UNITA's leader) is an accomplished guerrilla fighter." Mandela said he thought of Savimibi as a "criminal" but he didn't care much for the Angolan MPLA government, either.


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