Five Killed As Government Forces Clash With Opposition Rebels
MALANJE, Angola (AP) _ Two days of violent clashes between government supporters and the UNITA opposition group in this northern town left five dead and several wounded, officials said.
The weekend clashes were believed the most violent incidents since peace accords signed May 1991 between President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi ended a 16-year civil war in this southern African nation.
Reports said shooting broke out Sunday when government troops allegedly prevented the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or UNITA, from holding a rally in the town, 225 miles east of Angola’s capital Luanda.
Local police chief Tome Neto said UNITA troops were ordered to go to Malanje, which provoked the exchange of gunfire between the two sides, Lisbon’s daily Publico said Tuesday.
Publico said UNITA officials denied their troops fired, laying the blame on government troops for having incited the violence.
A commission monitoring the peace process comprises the two Angolan factions with observers fom the United States, Russia, Portugal and the United Nations. Angola’s first free elections are scheduled for Sept. 29-30.