Angola: August 11, 2000


AFP reported that the Angolan government (MPLA) said that its forces have "suspended" military operations against UNITA in southern Angola. In mid-May the Angolan Army began an offensive code-named "Operation Exagono." The operation was a follow-on operation to the government offensive launched in September 1999 and running through January 2000. "Exagono" was designed to keep UNITA rebels (who fled the big offensive) from returning to Angola. Based on several recent reports (which have been carried on strategypage), UNITA is once again active in the south and recently staged an attack near the capital, Luanda. The AFP wire story also said that the Angolan government now believes the September-to-January offensive "destroyed 20 percent of UNITA's military capacity..." If this figure is correct, then the Angolan Army has to be disappointed. In late January and February, it appeared that the Angolan Army had thoroughly destroyed UNITA's warmaking capabilities -- and had possibly dealt UNITA a fatal blow. The thinking at that time was that UNITA had at a minimum lost the ability to launch any major conventional-type attacks and would was reduced to conducting, at best, small-scale hit-and-run raids. If the new assessments are accurate, then UNITA remains a credible military force.


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