Angola Accuses South Africa of Attack on Port
Angola accused South Africa of sinking a cargo ship and destroying two fuel storage tanks Thursday in a dawn missile and underwater attack on the southwestern port of Namibe, the official Angolan news agency ANGOP reported.
The agency, in a report monitored here, said a South African warship armed with Scorpion missiles destroyed two tanks and damaged another while frogmen planted mines on three ships.
One of the ships was sunk while the other two were badly damaged, the Angolan agency reported. No word of casualties was given and the vessels were not identified.
Namibe, one of Angola’s major Atlantic ports, lies about 150 miles north of Namibia (South-West Africa), where nationalist guerrillas are fighting South Africa’s disputed control of the territory.
In the South African capital Pretoria, a spokeswoman for the South African Defense Force said she had no comment to make “on the spate of allegations that has come from Angola during the last couple of months.”
The Angolan news agency said Thursday’s attack was another example of South Africa’s “aggression” being directed against civilian rather than military targets.
Last year, Angolan troops foiled a South African commando raid against a U.S.-operated oil complex in the northern enclave of Cabinda.
Cuban Troop Issue
Western efforts to get South African agreement on an independence plan for Namibia have stalled on the issue of a withdrawal of an estimated 30,000 Cuban troops from Angola.
The reported naval attack came as Angolan government forces backed by Cuban troops and Soviet advisers were said to be mounting a big offensive against South African-backed Angolan rebels in southeastern Angola.
The Angola rebels, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), reported Wednesday that government troops had retaken the strategic town of Cangumbe in eastern Moxico province.
Two weeks ago, South African troops crossed into Angola and killed 53 men in what they called a sweep against Namibian guerrillas. Angola said the casualties were Angolan troops.
Angola’s Marxist government accuses South Africa of using the guerrilla issue as a pretext to invade its territory in support of the UNITA rebels.
For its part, Pretoria says the Namibian guerrillas who have fought South African rule for 20 years are given a safe haven and resupplied in Angola.