Angola says 200 dead in fighting with Unita

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The Independent Online
LISBON (Reuter) - More than 200 people are reported to have been killed in a battle between forces of the Angolan government and the former rebel movement, Unita, in the southern city of Lubango. The government forces now control Lubango, the capital of Huila province, and Unita's military commander in the region, Brigadier Padrinho Pilartes, was captured, Portugal's Lusa agency quoted Angola's Angop agency as saying.

Unita's spokesman, Jorge Valentim, earlier accused government forces in Lubango of attacking Unita positions in the city with armoured vehicles, artillery and planes. In its report from the Angolan capital, Luanda, Lusa quoted Angop as saying that nearly 100 Unita fighters were killed in one outbreak of fighting at the Hotel Imperio in Lubango. It described the hotel as a Unita stronghold in the city.

Angop said Unita forces tried unsuccessfully to capture the local television station and they continued to shell Lubango airport, a key air force base, after fighting in the city had ended. Many shops and vehicles in Lubango had been destroyed or looted, it added.