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Civil War in Angola

            Angola is situated in the West coast of Southern Africa with an area of 1,246,699 square kilometers. The population of Angola is around 8.5 million and the religions in the country include Roman Catholic, Protestant, and traditional religions. The rebel group known as the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) however, is currently fighting a civil war against the Luanda government to gain power in the country (Angola Report 1-2).
             After almost 500 years of Portuguese rule, Angola gained independence in 1975. Most Portuguese settlers fled the country during the war for independence leaving a severe shortage of political and economic skills. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) formed a government under leader Agostino Neto, but despite a succession of peace agreements, civil war with the rebel movement UNITA has dominated Angola for the last 25 years (Angola Report). Although the rebel movement signed the Lusaka treaty in 1994, this has not resulted in a lasting peace and the political situation remains unstable. Trade sanctions imposed on the UNITA leadership by the United Nations have consistently been violated with illegal diamond trafficking providing funds for the rebels. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has announced that elections will be held during 2001 (The Angola ongoing Civil war 2-5).
             Civil war has been the norm in Angola since independence from Portugal in 1975. A 1994 peace accord between the government and UNITA provided for the integration of former UNITA insurgents into the government and armed forces. A national unity government was installed in April of 1997, but serious fighting resumed in late 1998, rendering hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Up to 1.5 million lives may have been lost in fighting over the past quarter century. The death of Jonas SAVIMBI and a cease fire with UNITA may bode well for the country (Tomas4-5).

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