Last Updated: Friday, 12 September 2014, 13:51 GMT

Angola: Angolan Civil War and NOS UNIDOS

Publisher United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Author Resource Information Center
Publication Date 5 November 1999
Citation / Document Symbol AGO00001.ZNK
Cite as United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Angola: Angolan Civil War and NOS UNIDOS, 5 November 1999, AGO00001.ZNK, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a69d8.html [accessed 15 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Query:

Between May and the Fall of 1998 was there a significant and unpredictable worsening of conditions in Angola? What pressures exist in Angola for young men to register for the draft? Is international air travel possible for those the government suspects of pro-Unita sympathies? What is the NOS UNIDOS?

Response:

The Lusaka Accord of 1994 was supposed to have ended Angola's civil war, ongoing since independence from Portugal in 1975. Theoretically the Accord brought the rebel insurgency Unita (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) into the government, with Unita leader Jonas Savimbi taking the position of Angolan Vice-President and Unita forces being demobilized or absorbed into Angola's military (UNHCR, 1999). Throughout 1998, however, Unita gradually reneged on the deal. By late 1998 it launched heavy attacks against government forces in the central Angolan highlands and in the North (Angolan Peace Monitor, 1999). By late 1999 government forces had regrouped, driving Unita from its main bases (Pereira, 1999; Mseteka, 1999). Analysts expect Unita, nevertheless, to continue waging an aggressive, well-funded guerilla campaign. Some speculate, for example, that Unita has raised as much as $3.7 billion since 1992 through an illicit trade in diamonds, acquired from deposits in areas it controls (Global Witness, 1998).

This latest round of fighting may have taken some outside observers by surprise but it would be most unlikely, given extensive reporting within Angola, that anyone with access to a radio or a newspaper could not have known by the middle of the year, at the latest, that Angola was headed back into a civil war (Wrong, 1998).

Forced conscription has been a problem in Angola for years. Both the government and Unita rely on forced conscription, sometimes including children. According to a variety of reports conscriptions picked up markedly early last year (Business Day, 1998; Human Rights Watch, 1999; Janes, 1999).

On the one hand, those who wish to escape the draft probably can buy their way out given Angola's completely corrupt social system (Baker, 1999; Gerrard, 1999), on the other the demand for recruits probably will not lessen anytime soon. Those eligible who thus far have managed to avoid service probably will face continuing pressures from an open-ended payment schedule or, if drafted, the hazards of war.

As with conscription, those who can afford the bribes can travel internationally despite, by and large, real or alleged associations with Unita. Exceptions include more senior Unita officials who are affected by a United Nations travel ban.

A search of NEXIS, Westlaw, FBIS, the Angolan government's web site, Unita's web site, and various African newspapers' web sites yielded nothing about an organization called Nos Unidos or any variant thereof.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the RIC within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Angolan Peace Monitor. "Unita Shifts Attacks to North," (South Africa: January 1999), No. 5, Vol. 22 [Internet] http://www.anc.org.za/angola/apm0505.html.

Baker, Luke. "Anything at a price in Angolan market," (Reuters, 30 October 1999) [Internet/Infoseek].

Background Paper on Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Angola. (Geneva: UNHCR, April 1999) [Internet] http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country/cdr/cdrago02.htm.

Business Day. "Angola Deploys 18,000 Troops as War Clouds Gather," (South Africa: 28 July 1998), p2 — as reported in NEXIS.

Gerrard, Nicci. "Without Prejudice: Weep for these lost children of Angola," (London: The Observer, 22 August 1999) p. 23 — as reported in NEXIS.

Global Witness. "A Rough Trade," (December, 1998) [Internet]  http://www.oneworld.org/globalwitness/reports/Angola/summary.htm.

Human Rights Watch. "World Report 1999: Angola – Human Rights Developments," (1999) [Internet] http://www.hrw.org/hrw/worldreport99/africa/angola.html.

Jane's Defense Weekly. "IN BRIEF – Child soldiers monitored in Africa," (28 April, 1999) — as reported in NEXIS.

Mseteka, Buchizya. "Angola rebels ready for guerrilla war – institute," (Reuters, 26 October 1999) [Internet/Infoseek].

Pereira, Christiana. "Angolan government's alleged victory more symbolic than military: observers," (AP: 21 October 1999) — as reported in NEXIS.

Wrong, Michela. "Angola heads back to civil war," (London: Financial Times, 27 July 1998) p. 4 — as reported in NEXIS.

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