UNITA Downs Transport Plane, Kills Nine Foreigners On Board
LUANDA, Angola (AP) _ Rebels shot down a plane transporting goods for the government and the nine people on board, including two Americans, were killed, Angolan forces said on Saturday.
The Hercules C-130 plane disappeared on March 17 during a flight from the capital to the diamond-rich Lunda Norte province, said Col. Higino Lopes Carneiro, an armed forces spokesman.
Its wreckage was found on Thursday 19 miles from the town of Malanje, and the body of a Stinger missile - a U.S.-made anti-aircraft weapon used by Angolan rebels - was discovered in the same area, the government said.
In addition to the Americans, one Canadian and six Filipinos were killed in the crash, Carneiro said.
He said the plane belonged to Transafrik, a company that transports merchandise for the southern African nation’s government.
Carneiro said the company was not Angolan but did not disclose where it was based. He also did not say what the plane was carrying.
Carneiro identified the plane’s pilot as Capt. Graham Page of Canada. He said the Americans were co-pilot Logan Floyd Martin and flight engineer Jack Henderson. He did not have hometowns for the men.
Government forces also said rebel attacks last week killed 30 Angolans in the provinces of Quanza Sul, Lunda Norte and Benguela.
More than 350,000 people have died in Angola’s civil war since the country became independent from Portugal in 1975, according to government figures.
Rebels from the U.S.-backed National Union for the Total Independence of Angola have been fighting to force the Soviet-backed government to share power.
But both sides have said they want to sign a cease-fire soon, and the government is currently transforming the Marxist-inspired, one-party political system into a pluralist democracy.
The Popular Assembly, or parliament, on Saturday started debating constitutional changes to allow new political parties and a free press.