Unita batters siege town

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The Independent Online
LUANDA - The besieged government-held towns of Cuito and Malange came under mortar bombardment from Unita gunners yesterday, a day after the United Nations announced an agreement with the rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi, to resume aid flights to several towns, writes Karl Maier. Western diplomats and international aid workers said the bombardment was especially heavy in Cuito, the central highlands town under rebel siege for 18 months.

Some 15,000 people have died in Cuito since Unita surrounded it last year, after Mr Savimbi's rejection of his loss in 1992 general elections. Aid flights to Malange and rebel-held Huambo and Uige were suspended last week after Unita shelled Malange airport to stop cargo planes landing. Mr Savimbi agreed on Wednesday to allow flights to Malange, but the first plane yesterday returned to Luanda after the airport came under fire.