- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2002

LUANDA, Angola UNITA rebels are "shaken" by the death of their leader, Jonas Savimbi, but they will not heed the Angolan government's appeal for them to surrender, a UNITA representative said yesterday.
The comment came as Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos left for Portugal Angola's former colonial ruler and the United States to present his plans for securing an end to his country's long civil war. Mr. dos Santos is to meet President Bush tomorrow.
UNITA members warned they did not intend to give up their struggle against the government, which first began after the southwest African nation became independent from Portugal in 1975.
Carlos Morgado, a UNITA representative in Portugal, said the group was "deeply shaken" by the death of Mr. Savimbi, who founded the movement in 1966 and was its unquestioned leader since. The armed forces said Mr. Savimbi was killed in a gunbattle on Friday.
"From now on, the scenario has changed. We'll have to find new paths. But this will never mean a military surrender. There'll be no military victory" for the government, Mr. Morgado said on Portuguese cable news channel SIC Noticias.
The war is believed to have killed about 500,000 people, though no figures have been confirmed. About 4 million people roughly one-third of the population have been driven from their homes by the fighting, creating a humanitarian crisis.
Potential successors to Mr. Savimbi are UNITA Vice President Antonio Dembo and Mr. Savimbi's close aide Paulo Lukamba Gato, both believed to be hiding in the bush.
UNITA, a Portuguese acronym of National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, is thought to have several thousand troops in a country twice the size of Texas with ideal terrain for guerrilla warfare.
The army says it is still pursuing rebel units. In a statement after Mr. Savimbi's death, the government urged UNITA fighters to surrender.


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