56. Angola (1974-present)

 

Crisis Phase (April 25, 1974-April 28, 1975):  Three Angolan nationalist groups – the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola-MPLA), the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola-FNLA), and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola-UNITA) competed for control of the government of Angola beginning on April 25, 1974.  The Chinese government provided military assistance (weapons and military instructors) in support of the FNLA beginning in July 1974, and the government of the Soviet Union provided military assistance (weapons) in support of the MPLA (Agostinho Neto faction) beginning in October 1974.  MPLA and UNITA supporters clashed in Luanda in November 1974.  The Kenyan government mediated negotiations between the rival nationalist groups in Mombasa, Kenya beginning on January 4, 1975. MPLA and FNLA supporters clashed in Luso on April 9, 1975, resulting in the death of one individual.

Conflict Phase (April 29, 1975-August 10, 1988): Some 500 individuals were killed in military hostilities between members of the MPLA and FNLA in Luanda on April 29-May 2, 1975 (some 1,000 individuals were killed in military hostilities between January and May 1975).  The Cuban government deployed some 250 military advisors in support of the MPLA beginning on May 7, 1975.  President Kenyatta of Kenya mediated a ceasefire between the FNLA and MPLA on June 21, 1975, but the parties resumed military hostilities on June 22, 1975.  The Organization of African Unity (OAU) appealed for a ceasefire in July 1975.  MPLA troops attacked FNLA headquarters in Luanda on July 12, 1975. The government of Zaire (Congo-Kinshasa) deployed troops in support of the FNLA on July 15, 1975.  The U.S. government provided covert military assistance to UNITA and FNLA beginning on July 27, 1975.  South African troops intervened in Angola to protect hydroelectric plants at Calueque and Ruacana Falls on August 9, 1975, and some 800 South African troops occupied Pereira d’Eca on August 22, 1975. Some 15,000 (later 36,000) Cuban troops intervened in support of the MPLA beginning on September 3, 1975, and the government of Zaire sent additional troops to assist the FNLA on September 11, 1975.  Some 10,000 South African troops intervened in support of the FNLA and UNITA alliance on October 23, 1975.  Antonio Agostinho Neto, leader of the MPLA, proclaimed the People’s Republic of Angola on November 11, 1975, and the FNLA-UNITA coalition proclaimed a rival government in Huambo.  The governments of several countries, including the Soviet Union, North Vietnam, and Brazil, provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the MPLA government on November 12, 1975.  Some 500 (later 1,200) Soviet military advisors were deployed in support of the MPLA government beginning on November 13, 1975.  The government of East Germany deployed some 500 military advisors in support of the MPLA government.  The government of Tanzania provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the MPLA government on December 5, 1975.  The government of Sierra Leone provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the MPLA government on January 28, 1976.  The Indian government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the MPLA government on February 6, 1976.  The U.S. government ended covert military assistance to the FNLA and UNITA on February 9, 1976, and the Organization of African Union (OAU) provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the MPLA government on February 10, 1976.  MPLA government troops gained control of the country with the assistance of some 12,000 Cuban troops and 1,000 Soviet military advisors on February 16, 1976.  The Portuguese government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the MPLA government on February 22, 1976, and the government of Zaire provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the MPLA government on February 28, 1976.  South African troops withdrew from southern Angola on March 27, 1976.  President Neto died on September 11, 1979, and he was succeeded as president by Jose Eduardo Dos Santos on September 21, 1979.  The government of the Soviet Union provided $4.8 billion in military assistance (weapons) to the MPLA government from 1982 to 1986.  The U.S. government provided covert military assistance (non-lethal and lethal) to the UNITA from 1985 to 1988.  President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union expressed support for the government of President Dos Santos on May 6, 1986.  Assistant Secretary of State Chester Crocker of the U.S. mediated the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the parties on August 10, 1988.  Some 150,000 individuals, including 10,000 Cuban soldiers, were killed during the conflict. Some 1.2 million individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (August 11, 1988-October 10, 1992):  Representatives of the governments of South Africa, Angola, and Cuba signed an agreement on December 22, 1988, providing for the withdrawal of South African and Cuban troops from Angola. On December 20, 1988, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM I) to monitor and verify the withdrawal of Cuban and South African troops from Angola.  The military component of UNAVEM I consisted of 70 military observers from 10 countries commanded by Brigadier-General Péricles Ferreira Gomes of Brazil.  Cuban troops in Angola started their withdrawal from the country on January 10, 1989.  UNAVEM I was disbanded on May 25, 1991.  The Portuguese government facilitated the signing of a peace agreement by President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos and Jonas Malheiro Savimbi of UNITA in Lisbon on May 31, 1991.  On May 30, 1991, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 696, which established the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM II) to monitor the ceasefire agreement, to monitor local police, and to observer and verify presidential and legislative elections.  At maximum strength, the military and police components of UNAVEM II consisted of 350 military observers and 126 civilian police personnel from 25 countries commanded by Brigadier-General Péricles Ferreira Gomes of Brazil.  The World Bank (WB) provided reconstruction assistance to the government between July 16, 1991 and December 31, 2000.  The electoral component of UNAVEM II, which consisted of some 400 observers and 100 civilian staff personnel from 90 countries, monitored the electoral process from March 24 to October 1, 1992.  Presidential and legislative elections were held on September 29-30, 1992. The International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) sent 39 personnel headed by C. S. Whitaker of the U.S. to monitor the elections from September 23 to October 17, 1992.  The governments of Belgium, France, Germany, and Portugal sent observers to monitor the elections. UNITA claimed election fraud. On October 30, 1992, the UN Security Council approved a resolution that endorsed the elections as generally free and fair.

Conflict Phase (October 11, 1992-November 20, 1994): Government troops and UNITA rebels resumed military hostilities on October 11, 1992. The UN Security Council condemned the resumption of hostilities by UNITA, and demanded a ceasefire on October 30, 1992.  UNITA rebels attacked several towns near Luanda on October 30, 1992, resulting in the deaths of some 15 individuals.  The UN secretary-general mediated a ceasefire on November 26, 1992, but UNITA rebels violated the ceasefire agreement on November 28, 1992. UN Special Representative Margaret Joan Anstee unsuccessfully mediated truce negotiations between the two parties from January 27 to May 21, 1993. The UN Security Council condemned UNITA, and demanded an immediate ceasefire on March 12, 1993.  The U.S. government provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the Angolan government on May 19, 1993.  The UN secretary-general appointed Alioune Blondin Beye of Mali as special envoy to Angola on May 28, 1993.  On June 2, 1993, the UN Security Council condemned UNITA for escalating the violence.  UN envoy Alioune Blondin Beye mediated ceasefire negotiations between the parties beginning on June 28, 1993.  The UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions (oil embargo) and military sanctions (arms embargo) against UNITA on September 15, 1993.  The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (oil embargo and assets freeze) and military sanctions (arms embargo) against UNITA on September 26, 1993. The parties signed the UN-mediated Lusaka Protocol on November 20, 1994. The protocol called for a ceasefire and the demobilization of military forces. Some 500,000 individuals were killed, and some 500,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (November 21, 1994-November 30, 1998):  UNAVEM II was disbanded on February 8, 1995.  Five UNAVEM II personnel, including one international civilian staff member, were killed during the mission.  On February 8, 1995, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) to oversee the implementation of the Lusaka Protocol.  At maximum strength, UNAVEM III consisted of 283 military observers, 3,649 peacekeeping troops, and 288 civilian police personnel from 31 countries commanded by Major-General Chris Abutu Garuba of Nigeria.  UNAVEM III also included 420 civilian staff personnel.  Government troops and UNITA rebels clashed in April 1995. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) established a mission consisting of 83 personnel to provide repatriation assistance to some 145,000 refugees between July 1995 and August 1998.  UNAVEM III was disbanded on June 30, 1997.  Thirty-two UNAVEM III personnel were killed during the mission.  On June 30, 1997, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) to monitor and verify the ceasefire agreement; to monitor the integration of UNITA soldiers into the Angolan military; monitor the verify the collection of weapons from the civilian population; and to verify the neutrality of the Angolan police.  At maximum strength, the military component of MONUA consisted of 3,026 peacekeeping troops and 253 military observers from 36 countries commanded by Major-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda of Zimbabwe (June 1997 to April 1998) and Major-General Seth Kofi Obeng of Ghana (May 1998 to February 1999).  The civilian police component of MONUA consisted of a maximum of 403 civilian police personnel.  The International Organization for Migration (IOM) established a mission to provide repatriation assistance to internally displaced individuals beginning in 1997. The UN Security Council imposed additional economic sanctions (travel ban) against members of the UNITA on August 28, 1997.  UN Special Representative Alioune Blondin Beye, five UN staff personnel, and two pilots were killed in an airplane crash on June 26, 1998.  Issa B. Y. Diallo of Guinea took over as UN Special Representative on August 28, 1998.

Conflict Phase (December 1, 1998-April 4, 2002): Government troops and UNITA rebels resumed military hostilities in December 1998. The UN Security Council appealed for a ceasefire on December 23, 1998.  MONUA was disbanded on March 20, 1999.  Seventeen MONUA personnel, including nine military personnel, one civilian police personnel, and five international civilian staff personnel, were killed during the mission.  On October 15, 1999, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan established the United Nations Office in Angola (UNOA) to “liaise with political and civilian authorities with the view to exploring measures for restoring peace” in Angola.  UNOA consisted of 42 personnel headed by Mussagy Jeichande of Mozambique. Namibia intervened in support of the Angolan government on December 18, 1999.  Angolan troops and Namibian troops captured Jamba from UNITA rebels on December 25, 1999.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) mission consisting of 44 international staff and 525 local staff continued to provide humanitarian assistance in Angola in January 2000. The World Food Program (WFP) provided humanitarian assistance to individuals displaced during the conflict.  Namibian government troops and UNITA rebels clashed in Namibia’s Caprivi province on January 6, 2000, resulting in the deaths of seven UNITA rebels.  UNITA rebels attacked and kill some 100 villagers in Bie Province in January 2000.  Some 250 UNITA rebels attacked the town of Catete on August 7, 2000, resulting in the deaths of four civilians and 17 rebels.  The Russian government agreed to provide military assistance to the government on December 5, 2000.  UNITA rebels ambushed a government police convoy near Malange on January 11, 2001, resulting in the deaths of six individuals.  UNITA rebels attacked the town of Uige on February 1, 2001, resulting in the deaths of three civilians.  UNITA rebels attacked the town of Calomboloca on March 15, 2001, resulting in the deaths of at least 16 individuals.  On March 30, 2001, President Chiluba of Zambia condemned renewed fighting between UNITA rebels and Angolan government troops near the Zambian border.  UNITA rebels attacked government troops in the town of Dombo Grande on April 14-15, 2001, resulting in the deaths of seven government soldiers.  UNITA rebels attacked a displaced persons camp in Huila Province on April 14-15, 2001, resulting in the deaths of seven civilians.  UNITA rebels attacked the town of Caxito in Bengo Province on May 5, 2001, resulting in the deaths of some 100 individuals.  UNITA rebels killed 20 civilians near Cacuso on May 11, 2001.  UNITA rebels attacked the town of Uige on June 26, 2001, resulting in the deaths of ten rebels and one government soldier.  UNITA rebels attacked a train between Luanda and the town of Dondo on August 10, 2001, resulting in the deaths of some 200 individuals.  UNITA rebels attacked a bus near the town of Cacolo in Malange Province on August 24, 2001, resulting in the deaths of some 50 individuals.  UNITA rebels attacked a convoy of buses in Kwanza Sul Province on September 1, 2001, resulting in the deaths of 38 individuals.  UNITA rebels killed some 150 individuals, including 25 government soldiers and eleven government police, between Luanda and Dondo on August 10, 2001.  UNITA rebels attacked the village of Cachingues in Bie Province on September 30, 2001, resulting in the deaths of at least 15 individuals.  The Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) condemned UNITA in November 2001. UNITA rebels attacked the village of Baia Farta on February 2, 2002, resulting in the deaths of 11 civilians and three rebels.  Jonas Savimbi, leader of UNITA, was killed by government troops in Moxico Province on February 22, 2002.  UNITA rebels attacked near the city of Malange on February 25, 2002, resulting in the deaths of nine individuals.  President George W. Bush of the U.S. appealed for a ceasefire on February 26, 2002.  The Angolan government ended offensive military efforts against UNITA on March 14, 2002.  Government and UNITA representatives signed a UN-facilitated ceasefire agreement in Luanda, Angola on April 4, 2002.  Some 25,000 individuals were killed, and some 100,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (April 5, 2002-February 4, 2010): The International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided humanitarian assistance to families of some of the 65,000 UNITA soldiers in Angola beginning in April 2002. The World Food Program (WFP) provided humanitarian assistance to displaced individuals beginning in April 2002. In May 2002, Medicins San Frontieres (MSF) began to provide humanitarian assistance to some 18,000 individuals who were displaced by government troops between September 2001 and March 2002.  The UN Security Council suspended economic sanctions (travel ban) against UNITA on May 17, 2002.  UNOA was disbanded on August 15, 2002.  On August 15, 2002, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Mission in Angola (UNMA) to oversee the peace process in Angola, to liaise with the parties through the Joint Military Commission, to observe the demobilization process (if requested by the government), to assist in the promotion and protection of human rights (particularly with respect to displaced persons returning to their homes), to provide good offices to the parties, and to coordinate humanitarian assistance efforts.  UNMA consisted of eight military liaison officers and sixteen human rights officers.  Seven MSF personnel were killed by a landmine on December 1, 2002.  Fernando Dias dos Santos formed a government as prime minister on December 6, 2002.  The UN Security Council lifted economic sanctions (oil embargo) and military sanctions (arms embargo) against UNITA on December 9, 2002.  The European Union (EU) provided humanitarian assistance to the government beginning in 2002.  UNMA was disbanded on February 15, 2003.  The U.S. government lifted economic sanctions (oil embargo and assets freeze) and military sanctions (arms embargo) against UNITA on May 8, 2003.  UNITA elected Isaias Samakuva as political party leader on June 27, 2003.  The U.S. government lifted economic sanctions (travel ban) against members of UNITA on December 12, 2003.  Legislative elections were held on September 5-6, 2008, and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola-MPLA) won 191 out of 220 seats in the National Assembly.  The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola-UNITA) won 16 seats in the National Assembly.  The European Union (EU) sent 40 long-term observers and 68 short-term observers from 23 countries led by Luisa Morgantini of Italy to monitor the legislative elections from July 29 to September 23, 2008.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent 80 observers to monitor the legislative elections.  The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) sent 15 observers from 13 countries led by Hon. Idriss Ndele Moussa of Chad to monitor the legislative elections from August 22 to September 8, 2008.  The Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa – CPLP) sent 15 observers from seven countries to monitor the legislative elections from August 29 to September 8, 2008.  On January 21, 2010, the National Assembly approved a new constitution which abolished the direct election of the president.

Post-Crisis Phase (February 5, 2010-present):  The new constitution of Angola formally went into effect on February 5, 2010.  Government police detained 17 anti-government protesters and three journalists on Independence Square in Luanda on March 7, 2011.  Government police raided the offices of an independent newspaper in Luanda on March 12, 2012.  Legislative elections were held on August 31, 2012, and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola-MPLA) won 175 out of 220 seats in the National Assembly.  The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola-UNITA) won 32 seats in the National Assembly.  The African Union (AU) sent observers 24 observers from 24 countries led by former President Pedro Pires of Cape Verde to monitor the legislative elections from August 25 to September 2, 2012.  The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) sent observers to monitor the legislative elections.  The Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa – CPLP) sent 18 observers led by Pedro Leonardo of Mozambique to monitor the legislative elections.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent 100 observers from eight countries to monitor the legislative elections from August 20 to September 4, 2012.  The Southern African Development Community-Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) sent 23 observers from eight countries led by Max Vuyisile Sisulu from South Africa to monitor the legislative elections from August 23 to September 4, 2012.  Jose Eduardo dos Santos of the MPLA was sworn in for a new five-year term as president on September 26, 2012, and Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos of the MPLA was elected as President of the National Assembly on September 27, 2012.  Government police arrested and detained seven anti-government protesters in Luanda on September 19, 2013.  Government police released seven anti-government protesters from detention on September 23, 2013.  Government security personnel clashed with anti-government demonstrations in Luanda, resulting in the death of one protester.  On November 19, 2013, the government accused the main opposition group UNITA of seeking to cause chaos by staging nationwide rallies to protest against the kidnaping of two activists.  In 2015, the Human Right Watch (HRW) said the Angolan government continues targeting outspoken journalists and activists with arbitrary arrests and unfair trials. On February 7, 2014, a reporter was given a six-month suspended prison sentence after allegedly inquiring about screams coming from prisoners inside a police station.  On July 23, 2015, Amnesty International called for the release of jailed activists allegedly believed to be plotting to oust President Jose Eduardo.   On October 28, 2015, the European Union (EU) granted 210 million euros to support Angolan in their cooperation and development programs that align with the EU strategy.  The Angolan government expanded its oil-sales deals to China by signing a 10-year agreement with a Sinochem Group on December 16, 2015.  On March 11, 2016, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos announced his decision to step down at the end of his current term.  On March 28, 2016 seventeen young activists were jailed for opposing the government of president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.  Government police detained several protesters prior to a planned demonstration in Luanda on April 9, 2016.  On June 4, 2016, the main opposition group UNITA condemned the appointment of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ daughter, Isabel dos Santos, as the head of the state oil company, Sonangol.  Government police killed one individual during a protest in Luanda on August 6, 2016.

[Sources: Africa Diary, February 12-18, 1976, March 4-10, 1976, March 11-17, 1976, April 1-7, 1976, April 29-May 5, 1976; Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), June 15, 1986; African Union (AU) press release, August 25, 2012; African Union (AU) statement, September 2, 2012; Al Jazeera, March 14, 2012; Arnold et al., 1991, 10-14; Associated Press (AP), June 30, 1997, February 26, 1999, December 26, 1999, April 4, 2002, December 5, 2002, December 9, 2002; Banks and Muller, 1998, 26-33; Beigbeder, 1994, 180-189; Brecher and Wilkenfeld, 1997, 68-83; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), January 28, 1999, January 18, 2000, August 8, 2000, January 13, 2001, February 1, 2001, March 15, 2001, March 30, 2001, April 16, 2001, May 7, 2001, May 11, 2001, June 26, 2001, August 13, 2001, August 27, 2001, September 3, 2001, September 25, 2001, October 2, 2001, February 4, 2002, February 23, 2002, February 27, 2002, March 5, 2002, March 14, 2002, April 4, 2002, May 17, 2002, December 5, 2002, December 10, 2002, May 8, 2003, June 24, 2003, June 27, 2003, December 12, 2003, March 7, 2007, September 5, 2008, September 9, 2008, September 17, 2008, January 21, 2010, September 26, 2011, August 31, 2012, September 2, 2012, July 23, 2015, March 11, 2016; Clodfelter, 1992, 1024-1025; Degenhardt, 1988, 8-12; Durch, 1978, 34-74; Ebinger, 1976, 669-699; Facts on File, May 10, 1975; Hallett, 1978, 347-386; Human Right Watch (HRW) report,  2015; International Organization for Migration (IOM) press release, February 23, 1998; Keesing’s Record of World Events, November 26, 1976; Los Angeles Times (LAT), May 8, 1993; New York Times (NYT), November 23, 1985, February 1, 1987, January 11, 1989, October 31, 1992, February 23, 2002, September 10, 2008, January 22, 2010, March 10, 2011, August 31, 2012, September 1, 2012; Macauhub, October 28, 2015; Reuters, December 20, 1999, December 21, 1999, January 6, 2000, March 10, 2000, December 6, 2000, February 2, 2001, May 15, 2001, March 30, 2002, April 4, 2002, February 15, 2003, January 21, 2010, September 19, 2013, September 23, 2013, November 13, 2013, November 19, 2013, November 23, 2013, November 26, 2013, February 7, 2014, December 16, 2015, March 28, 2016, April 10, 2016; Schmid, 1985, 102-110; Sommerville, 1990, 148-157; Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) press release, August 28, 2012; United Nations Security Council (UNSC) press release, December 23, 1998, August 15, 2002; Valenta, 1975, 3-33; Vanguard (Lagos), April 2, 2002; Vanneman and James, 1976, 92-103; Voice of America (VOA), September 19, 2013, June 4, 2016; Weissman, 1979, 263-286.]

 

Selected Bibliography

Durch, William J. 1978. “The Cuban Military in Africa and the Middle East: From Algeria to Angola.” Studies in Comparative Communism 11 (Spring/Summer): 34-74.

Ebinger, Charles K. 1976. “External Intervention in Internal War: The Politics and Diplomacy of the Angolan Civil War.” Orbis 20 (Fall): 669-699.

El-Khawas, Mohamed A. 1977. “South Africa and the Angola Conflict.” Africa Today 24 (April-June): 35-46.

Hallett, Robin. 1978. “The South African Intervention in Angola 1975-1976.” African Affairs 77 (July): 347-386.

Ottaway, Marina. 1998. “Angola’s Failed Elections.” In Krishna Kumar, editor. Postconflict Elections, Democratization, & International Assistance. Boulder, CO and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 133-151.

Valenta, Jiri. 1978. “The Soviet-Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1975.” Studies in Comparative Communism 11 (Spring/Summer): 3-33.

Vanneman, Peter and Martin James. 1976. “The Soviet Intervention in Angola: Intentions and Implications.” Strategic Review 4 (Summer): 92-103.

Weissman, Stephen R. 1979. “CIA Covert Action in Zaire and Angola: Patterns and Consequences.” Political Science Quarterly 94 (Summer): 263-286.