Huambo 'about to fall' to Unita rebels

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The Independent Online
Luanda (Reuter) - The Angolan government said its troops were fighting desperately yesterday to stop Unita rebels from regaining the city of Huambo, their former headquarters. Diplomats in Luanda said it could fall within 48 hours. 'The situation is fluid but it looks very bleak for the government. It is plausible that Unita could take control within the next two days,' a Western diplomat said.

In Lisbon, diplomats said Huambo may already have fallen and the government was on the verge of military collapse.

Aid workers said thousands of wounded were trapped in the central highland city, where the government and Unita (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) rebels have been fighting for more than a month. The battle is the centrepiece of the war which resumed after Unita rejected its September electoral defeat. UN officials were trying to arrange a truce to allow mercy flights of food and medical aid to be flown into the city which has been devastated by artillery and air attacks.