Letter: False accusation of assassination plot

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am writing to protest against your article 'West warned of plot to kill Jonas Savimbi' (11 June), which gives credence to accusations that the governing party in my country, the MPLA, is involved in an assassination plot.

In February this year, two top Unita leaders and close aides of Jonas Savimbi, generals Miguel Nzau Puna and Tony Fernandes, left that organisation, accusing Savimbi of gross violations of human rights, including the murder of Tito Chingunji and Wilson dos Santos, former Unita representatives in Washington and Lisbon. Other accusations included Unita's violation of the peace accords by maintaining a secret army of 20,000 men outside the assembly areas, with a view to seizing power if it lost the elections.

It was against this background of disarray and grave internal problems that, in March, Unita radio accused my government of planning an attempt on the life of Jonas Savimbi, claiming that unspecified 'foreign Western personalities' had warned the Unita leadership in time. The radio went so far as to accuse the President of the Republic of being involved in the alleged plot. It also threatened 'total and immediate war without frontiers' if there were to be any attempt on Savimbi's life.

During a 15-hour meeting of the Joint Political and Military Commission, the body responsible for overseeing the peace accords, Unita was unable to provide evidence to back its accusations, according to a statement made at the end of the meeting by a Portuguese observer, Antonio Francisco.

It is untrue that Jonas Savimbi's location in Luanda is kept secret. He is living in a house provided by the government in Miramar, a residential area of the capital.

My government has made, and continues to make, every effort to ensure a peaceful transition to democratic elections in September. It has started to register electors, despite all the difficulties, showing its seriousness and its desire to hold elections as planned. Meanwhile, observers have noted that Unita, a military organisation, seems unable to adapt to conditions of peace and political contest. Its leaders continue to threaten renewed war if there are delays in the electoral process.

In practice, the government is unable to extend the central administration to the whole country in order to register the electorate, as stipulated in the peace accords, because of Unita's continued illegal occupation of some places, where representatives of the government and of newly formed political parties have been subjected to extreme intimidation and even physical violence.

My country needs peace. Peace also needs the support of the international community, which is not furthered by sensationalist, unsubstantiated press reports.

Yours truly,

JOSE ALVES PRIMO

Ambassador

The People's Republic

of Angola

London, W1

29 July

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