Angola Peace Monitor Reports Developments in Angola

150 150 Rapaport News

Angola Peace Monitor no.2 vol.VII

Published by ACTSA

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UN Sanctions Mechanism under pressure to deliver

The United Nations Monitoring Mechanism created to crack down on violations

of sanctions against the UNITA rebel-movement of Jonas Savimbi has warned

“it is clear that international dealers are still prepared to flout

sanctions and buy diamonds from UNITA”. However, it states that “it is

generally accepted that the sanctions, combined with military factors on the

ground, are seriously hampering UNITA’s capacity”.

The Monitoring Mechanism presented an interim report to the President of the

UN Security Council on 24 October, but diplomatic sources have criticised

the report for lacking clarity over its information gathering strategy,

warning that the report focuses too much on diplomatic efforts. It is now

facing strong pressure to gather more information and evidence linking

governments and individuals to sanctions busting to deliver in its full

report, due in mid-December.

In March 2000 the United Nations published a groundbreaking report by the

then Canadian Ambassador to the UN, Robert Fowler, on how UNITA had built up

a formidable arsenal in return for rough diamonds. The report was the result

of a six-month in-depth study by a Panel of Experts, and made far-reaching

recommendations on action which should be taken against sanctions violators.

The report named two serving presidents and a vice-president who were said

to have actively supported sanctions busting.

However, in April the UN effectively decided to defer the action called for

by the report (except work on conflict diamonds, taking place through

separate channels), and in its place set up a mechanism for monitoring and

enforcing sanctions. Behind the scenes at the United Nations there were

strong denials by countries named in the report, backed by powerful

interests – including France – who argued that there was insufficient

evidence to back up its claims. There are fears that there will be pressure

on the Mechanism to avoid controversy in its own report.

This led to the Security Council making the compromise of setting up the

Monitoring Mechanism on Angola Sanctions, which was to report by 18 October,

following which the Security Council would review the implementation of

sanctions on UNITA, including considering new sanctions on UNITA and on

third parties involved in smuggling.

However, the panel was not appointed until July, and August is a notoriously

unproductive month in the northern hemisphere. The deadline for the final

report has now been set for 10 December, cutting the group’s research down

to five months instead of the planned six.

The interim report warns that UNITA is still illegally mining diamonds

inside Angola, and that it is still able to sell these diamonds on the

international market. It is understood that not only African intermediaries

countries, but Tel Aviv and Antwerp will come under the spotlight of its

investigations in coming weeks.

The report also warns that several countries may have recently violated

sanctions, although it does not name them. The Mechanism has met with

government representatives in South Africa, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cote

d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and

Romania. Amongst a range of visits to other countries is a particularly

significant one to Zambia – still a key centre for sanctions-busting which

got off lightly in the Fowler Report.

The report states that it has sought the cooperation of INTERPOL, the

international police network, in identifying UNITA’s links with organised

crime. It is also engaging experts to look at UNITA’s financial holdings.

The report warns that Rwanda, Uganda and Burkina Faso have not implemented

any diamond control mechanism but that Togo had issued an executive order

banning the diamond trade with UNITA.

The Mechanism has investigated arms shipments to UNITA, and states that

Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Romania have strengthened their arms embargo.

However, by looking at information received by countries importing arms and

comparing it with information from exporting countries, the Mechanism has

spotted “very serious discrepancies” on shipments from 1996 to 1999. In

other words, large arms shipments were not reaching their formal

destination, but were being diverted to UNITA.

The Monitoring Mechanism is developing profiles of arms dealers, air

transport companies and insurance firms underwriting planes suspected of

violating sanctions.

It is also investigating how the ban on UNITA offices and travel of its

senior personnel is being bypassed. The report states that “the report of

the Panel of Experts underlines the very close links between the different

aspects of UNITA’s military and strategic procurement, its diamond dealings

and financial operations and the ability of UNITA personnel to travel and

conduct business abroad. The Mechanism cannot over-emphasise the importance

it attaches to this analysis and to the implementation of the sanctions

against UNITA representation and the travel of UNITA personnel. The

Mechanism would argue that these sanctions are even more important today,

due to the present situation in Angola”.

In particular, the Mechanism raises the issue of the “Commissao de Justica,

Paz e Reconciliacao em Angola” which is a suspected UNITA front with offices

in Portugal, Italy and Ireland, and has Joffre Justino, Adalberto da Costa

Junior and Leon Dias as its representatives.

The interim report highlights the fact that, according to a former UNITA

member, 56 officials and their families said to have been expelled from Togo

have in fact only been moved to the outskirts of the capital Lome during the

summit of the Organisation of African Unity.

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International campaign against blood diamonds gathers pace

The international campaign by diamond producers, polishers and traders,

governments and non-governmental organisations has been broadening its base

in the run-up to the creation of an international treaty requiring a full

audit trail from the diamond mines to the jewellers.

African nations have been leading the campaign to secure a formal world-wide

binding inter-governmental agreement to crack down on the trade in conflict

diamonds through a global certification scheme, and this has come to be

known as the Kimberley process (see APM no.1, vol.VII).

On 25 October an inter-governmental conference took place in London with the

aim of broadening support for the certification scheme to countries that

were not already part of the Kimberley process. The meeting brought in

Russia, Venezuela, Brazil, Australia which were not previously involved.

The meeting did, however, show cracks in the coalition, with South Africa

only sending a representative from its High Commission. This was not a

matter of disagreement over substance, but reflected the annoyance of a

number of Southern African countries over what they perceived to be

arrogance in the British Foreign Office. In their view, it had been agreed

at the previous meeting in Pretoria that the next inter-governmental meeting

should follow a South-African-sponsored resolution at the UN General

Assembly endorsing a global certification scheme. The South Africans

considered that the British were, not for the first time, trying to hijack

what was an African initiative.

The General Assembly is due to meet on 13/14 November and it is expected

that a resolution will be adopted at a later date. There will be a technical

level meeting in January or February in Windhoek to carry the process

forward.

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Action against blood diamonds makes mark

There are indications that the international campaign is starting to limit

UNITA’s ability to sell diamonds, at the same time as the Angolan army is

making it difficult for UNITA to continue mining the gems; though

significant sales still continue.

In a sign that the embargo is beginning to hit UNITA, the rebel organisation

has broken its silence to deny the effectiveness of international efforts to

stop them reaching the market.

In the Portuguese newspaper “Publico” on 27 October UNITA’s

Secretary-General, Lukamba Paulo “Gato” said that UNITA controls half of

Angola’s diamond production.

This was in response to an Angolan government assertion that UNITA had been

driven out of all diamond producing areas. On 24 October an Angolan

government source told the official news agency, ANGOP, that Angola no

longer produces and exports conflict diamonds.

Gato’s statement also marks a stepping-up of public relations efforts by

UNITA. Gato’s interview by satellite telephone was the second of the week,

having previously been interviewed by Associated Press. During that

interview he stated that UN sanctions were ineffective and that “we are

selling as many diamonds as we want”.

However, this is at odds with statements by UNITA’s representative in

Lisbon, Adalberto da Costa Junior who on 6 September told a press conference

that the rebels only had control of a “tiny part” of the diamond business.

In a country as large and diamondiferous as Angola, it is nigh on impossible

to completely regulate diamond mining. In its report to the UN Security

Council, the Monitoring Mechanism on Angola Sanctions warned of reports from

the Angolan government itself that UNITA continued to mine. There have also

been reports of significant sales by UNITA via Zambia on to South Africa.

UNITA is also thought to have a large stockpile of diamonds, most of which

are said to be with Jonas Savimbi at all times.

The Angolan government is currently licencing artisanal diamond miners to

strengthen the audit trail. Diamonds produced outside of this licensing

system will not have access to the sole diamond buyer in Angola, ASCORP.

This creates another barrier to UNITA to overcome if it wishes to sell

diamonds inside Angola.

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UNITA retreats over Zambian and DRC borders

The Angolan army, FAA, has made further advances against troops loyal to

Jonas Savimbi. The offensive along the border with Zambia seems to have been

almost completed, and attention is now being diverted to the border with the

Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.

On 25 October Zambia’s Defence Minister, Chitalu Sampa, told Reuters that

Angolan troops appeared to have displaced UNITA fighters from their

positions close to the west and north-west of Zambia.

The United Nations Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, has opened a new refugee

centre in Zambia for the 264 UNITA fighters who have fled Angola. The camp

is located away from the border to make it harder for the troops to rejoin

the fighting.

Meanwhile, further fighting has been reported along the Angolan border with

DRC. In mid-October FAA took control of the border town of Lubalo and a

string of other villages, in Kuilo district, Lunda Norte province.

On 31 October the UNHCR warned that 18,000 refugees were massed on the

border with DRC following heavy fighting. According to the UNHCR the

refugees were mostly civilians but also included UNITA fighters.

The inclusion of UNITA fighters in the fleeing group suggests that UNITA is

being pushed out of its few remaining areas of control in the province.

Whilst UNITA is failing to hold onto territory under its control, it

continues to kill civilians in an attempt to make the country ungovernable.

On 18 October gunmen attacked two buses and a car, killing dozens of people.

According to Radio Ecclesia one of the buses was burnt with the passengers

inside. The attack took place at Andurie, about 120km east of Luanda on a

convoy travelling from Luanda to N’Dalantando, Kwanza Norte province.

This attack followed another on a truck carrying thirty people in Dongo,

Huila province. During the attack seven were killed and 20 injured.

Air crash enquiry

Investigators are also looking into the air crash on 31 October in which 48

people were killed. An Antonov 26 aircraft burst into flames just after

taking off from the town of Saurimo, in the north-east of the country.

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IMF reviews economic reform

A mission from the International Monetary Fund visited Angola from 9 – 19

October to undertake a mid-term review of the implementation of the Angolan

government’s “Staff Monitored Programme” (see APM no1, vol.VII).

According to a report by ANGOP the IMF team and the government reviewed key

measures adopted to stabilise and stimulate the national economy as well as

to progressively eradicate poverty.

The Angolan government stressed its intention to continue the reforms

regarding the reduction of inflation and stabilising the exchange rate.

A new round of talks is due to take place in November.

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UN extends UNOA mandate for further six months

The UN Security Council on 16 October voted to extend the UN Office in

Angola, UNOA, for a further six months until 15 April 2001. The decision

follows the recommendation of the UN Secretary-General in a report to the

Security Council on 10 October (S/2000/977).

In that report Kofi Annan warns that since January 1998 the total number of

internally displaced persons, IDPs, has risen by 2.7 million. Many thousands

of other people have fled to neighbouring countries.

The burden on humanitarian organisations has continued to rise, with

approximately 1.1 million of the IDPs registered to receive assistance. The

Secretary-General states that over the previous three months 59,000 people

have been uprooted in 13 provinces, the largest movements occurring in

Benguela, Bie, Lunda Sul, Huambo, Moxico and Uige.

The report points out that “in a positive development, the Government of

Angola continued to relocate populations living in unsustainable camps and

transit centres to new resettlement sites. The introduction by the

Government of minimum operational standards for resettlement and return,

specifying both preconditions and targets, was a major step forward,

establishing a clear and principled framework for future relocations”.

The Secretary-General reported that the WFP food pipeline has improved, and

that food requirements were covered until the end of November. Subsequent

reports state that the European Union has donated 14,000 tonnes of maize and

1,300 tonnes of oil, valued at $10.5 million and this has ensured supplies

up until January. However, the WFP warns that it is only able to deliver

13,000 tonnes of food per month compared with its own target or 17,000

tonnes.

In another positive development, the Secretary-General states that over the

last three months “significant actions were taken by the Government to

improve the human rights situation. Salaries for magistrates were increased

in an attempt to provide a dignified and appropriate remuneration. Two of

nine municipal courts in Luanda began rehabilitation work with the support

of the municipal administrator”.

The judicial system continues to be perilously weak, and “a recent study by

a Church group with support from the Human Rights Division in one of the

largest shanty towns in Luanda confirmed that citizens turned to private

vigilante justice more frequently than to accepted forms of conflict

resolution such as the use of a community elder or religious authority and

least frequently to the justice system. A survey of public opinion done by

an Angola research institute in cooperation with the Prosecutor General’s

Office and a local non-governmental organisation with the support of the

Human Rights Division indicated that well over 65 per cent the population

surveyed knew their rights but indicated a lack of confidence in the ability

of government institutions to respect such rights”.

The report warns that “less than 5 per cent of Angola’s municipalities have

a fully functioning justice system including a municipal court”.

On the question of human rights abuses, the report points out that UNITA

attacks on civilian targets have been systematic, and highlights UNITA’s

attack on an orphanage in Huambo province on 10 July in which one child was

murdered and 21 abducted.

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UNITA doctor defects

Jonas Savimbi’s personal surgeon, Aurelio Joaquim Tchissoca, surrendered to

government authorities on 11 October. According to Tchissoca, he had been a

lieutenant in Savimbi’s army until a few years ago.

He is the latest in a long line of people close to Savimbi who have been

welcomed by the government. Most of Savimbi’s closest military, political

and medical aides have now either left him or have been killed by their

former leader.

At the beginning of October television showed a former UNITA soldier, Manuel

Tito, allege that on 25 April the senior military figure in UNITA, General

Altino Sapalalo “Bock”, was hanged at Tchanjo in Malange province.

Bock had been UNITA’s army chief-of-staff and was considered a hardline

militarist within the movement. However, his downfall came when he failed to

lead the capture of Kuito in 1998, when government forces managed to destroy

UNITA tanks on the road towards the city.

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Funds promised to combat sleeping sickness

The Angolan government has announced that it is to release $3 million to

combat trypanosomiasis, sleeping sickness (APM no.12, vol.VI).

The Institute for Trypanosomiasis Control is set to launch a National

Strategy for the Eradication of Sleeping Sickness, and two teams have been

set up. There is one group who will work in hospitals and a mobile team that

will tour the regions to curb the spread of the disease.

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Brussels conference looks at sanctions busting

Namibia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tuliameni Kalomoh spoke of his

“indignation and frustration when we recall the complete lack of political

resolution by the international community to implement sanctions against

UNITA”, at a Comite d’Afrique Australe conference in Brussels on 28 October.

Former Angolan foreign minister Paulo Jorge supported his call also for

African countries to “look inward” to expose those collaborating with

sanctions-breaking. Kalomoh outlined recent measures by his government to

stop trade with UNITA across Namibia’s northern border.

But senior Belgian officials defended their government’s recent record on

measures against conflict diamonds for the key international market in

Antwerp.

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The Angola Peace Monitor is produced every month by ACTSA – Action for

Southern Africa.

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