Angolan forces capture rebel centre in south

IN WHAT could be a turning point in Angola's 25-year civil war, government troops and Namibian forces have captured the rebel stronghold of Jamba,secured the country's entire 780-mile southern border and, crucially, cut off the rebels' supply lines.

The Angolan war spilled over its southern borders recently when Namibia granted the Angolan government permission to use its soil and security forces for an offensive against Jonas Savimbi's rebel group Unita (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola).

Last week heavy fighting along the border forced tourists and locals in northern Namibia to flee, and prompted fears of instability in southern Africa. Human rights organisations claim there have been scores of deaths, including the execution, in both countries, of villagers suspected of supporting one side or the other.

Victory for the Angolan government in the south was achieved at the weekend. An Angolan officer confirmed on Monday that Unita had been driven from strongholds in Savate, Cuangar, Calai, Xamavera, Dirico and Mucusso.

The rebels' central highlands headquarters, Andulo and Bailundo, fell in October - another watershed in a war that resumed a year ago after the collapse of a 1994 United Nations' peace deal. The government claims it has destroyed or captured about 80 per cent of Unita's military material, and that more than 5,600 of its 60,000 fighters have surrendered.

The battle for Jamba, in the south-east of the country, is a symbolic as well as strategic victory for the government. It was Unita's headquarters from 1975 to 1991 and well-placed to receive military aid from South Africa's apartheid government. Around 200 rebels surrendered during the Jamba attack, the newspaper Jornal de Angola reported on Monday.

More crucially, military experts believe that by capturing Jamba and controlling the southern border, the Angolan government has closed Unita's main supply line from Namibia.

Namibia is allied with Angola and Zimbabwe in supporting President Laurent Kabila in the war in Democratic Republic of Congo. It reversed its long determination to keep out of theAngolan conflict after elections in November returned President Sam Nujoma. Namibia accused Unita of spreading unrest in its northern regions. But experts said this move could destabilise southern Africa as countries there become increasingly involved in both wars. The conflicts "seem to be feeding off each other", South African analyst Richard Cornwell, head of the Institute for Security Studies' early warning programme, said.

Escalation of the Angolan war could undermine Congo peace negotiations and lead to instability across the region.

Unita could receive support from the Caprivi Strip in north-eastern Namibia where secessionists who support Unita mounted an anti-Namibian uprising a few months ago. There has also been fighting along Angola's border with Zambia.

Namibia, a vast land on southern Africa's west coast with only 1.6 million people, spectacular scenery and wildlife, is popular with tourists, who, along with rich diamond and mineral pickings, provide the backbone of the economy. After Angolan troops moved in and border fighting broke out, some countries told their nationals to avoid the northern regions.

Thousands of Angolan refugees have fled into Namibia to avoid fighting, and hundreds of Namibians have abandoned border villages.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees says 2,400 Angolans have arrived in recent weeks, and there are7,000 refugees at a new camp south of the border.

Unita still blocks many Angolan roads, and the Angolan government still has to recapture the eastern diamond fields that provide the rebels' principal income. The government also needs to take control of Unita- held farming towns northof Luanda, and secure the borders with Zambia and Congo.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C#.NET VB6 Developer (Software Developer, Software Engineer)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C#.NET VB6 Developer (Software Developer, Softwa...

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Service Desk Analyst - (Active Directory, Support, London)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst - (Active Di...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition