RealNews

Peace Brings Unita Only Humiliation

Officially, they are not losers. They are not a defeated, ragtag bunch of malnourished guerrillas with no homes, no jobs and no future. The Unita rebels are “partners for peace” who will help build a new, democratic Angola from the ashes of war. So goes the rhetoric of the triumphant government, the international community, and Unita itself. Exactly one year after bullets ended the life and violent times of Unita’s leader, Jonas Savimbi, his movement is said to be reborn as a political party. It is a fiction. One look at Matungo, a settlement camp for 27,000 former rebels and dependants deep in the wilderness of Cuando Cubango province, shows the reality: an abandoned, unloved force on the wrong side of a 27-year civil war. Once, Unita was feted by apartheid South Africa and Ronald Reagan’s White House as a bulwark against the Marxist, Cuban-backed government, a mighty fighting force which scented victory – but today its footsoldiers are unsure of their next meal. The stakes are humanitarian and political. Aid agencies warn that starvation, disease and retribution threaten an estimated 400,000 Unita rebels and their families. Diplomats warn that democracy and stability will elude Angola unless the rebels are integrated. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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