The Herald, November 7, 1979
NEW YORK. – The Angolan guerrilla leader, Dr Jonas Savimbi, has said the Government in his country will begin to collapse within two months and his UNITA movement will win the civil war.

Dr Savimbi told journalists on Monday that with United States help he could already have forced Cuban troops backing the Government to leave Angola.

But the guerrilla leader said he was in the United States to seek understanding and not military aid, Iana reports.

He said President Neto, who died in September, had been the only unifying force in the ruling MPLA, and his successor, President Eduardo Dos Santos, lacked the support of the Army.

“We are convinced that within two months, they will start to fall apart,” he said.

“The MPLA will have to talk to us or lose the war.”

Dr Savimbi dismissed suggestions that UNITA was allied to South Africa. He said that if this were so, the movement would not have retained its black American support.

He was speaking at a Press conference sponsored by Freedom House.

Our New York bureau reports Dr Savimbi as saying UNITA remained committed to driving the Cubans out of Angola, claiming they were deporting thousands of children of Cuba for long term indoctrination programmes.

The MPLA and 34 000 Cuban troops held only main towns and cities in Angola. While UNITA controlled more than half the country, he said.

He had flown directly out of Angola, with a stop in Dakar, and would return as easily.  “I have come to put my message across, that the Cubans are there, that the Cubans are increasing their numbers . . .”

He said President Leopold Senghor of Senegal had been trying to set up a meeting for him with President Neto when the Angolan leader died in Moscow.

“I hope the new rulers will follow the thinking of Neto, because if they do not, we will continue our struggle.”

Dr Savimbi scoffed at the “invincible” image of the Cubans, saying they were being shot and murdered by MPLA troops resentful of their presence and preferential status.

UNITA, he said, received “under-the-table” aid from several “so-called socialist countries, even in Africa”.

“I can talk to five American Heads of States,” he said.

“But even those who oppose the presence of the Cubans cannot raise their voices, because they are afraid.”

 LESSONS FOR TODAY

Angola gained its independence on November 11, 1975. Despite Savimbi’s bold assertion that he would illegally remove a sitting Government, he was actually killed in battle in 2002, two decades after those assertions.

The Cubans, who were Savimbi and his American and apartheid South Africa’s nemesis, continued to fight with MPLA. The battle of Cuito Cuanavale was one of the major battles they fought.

War is very disruptive and can destabilise a country, preventing its progression – politically, socially and economically.

The Angolan civil war raged for 27 years, and by the time the MPLA achieved victory in 2002, between 500 000 and 800 000 people had died, hundreds others were maimed, and over one million had been internally displaced,

The war devastated Angola’s infrastructure and severely damaged public administration, the economy and religious institutions.

Peace in any country is a pre-requisite for success and progress because not many people will be willing to invest in a war-ravaged country.

Countries like the United States have always meddled in the affairs of other.

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