Unita ally says Angola troops massacred 700

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LISBON (Reuter) - An organisation close to the Angolan rebel movement Unita said yesterday that government forces killed more than 700 civilians when they attacked a village in the oil-producing enclave of Cabinda at the weekend. The Luso-Angolan Commission for the Liberation of Political Prisoners in Luanda, a Lisbon-based body that regularly reports on alleged human rights abuses in Angola, said in a statement the massacre took place when government forces attacked the village of Katabuanga.

But a diplomat who follows the situation in Angola closely said he would treat the reported death toll with caution. 'I would definitely want to confirm this two or three times from other sources,' he said. He noted that the Commission had exaggerated in the past and there had not so far been any reports of major battles in Cabinda to suggest casualties on this scale.

The commission said: 'Although there were only civilians in the village, the MPLA (government) troops began to bombard the entire perimeter of the residential area with artillery before advancing under a curtain of small arms fire.'