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Angola Says US, Others Sending Food For Ex-Rebels - 2002-05-23


The Angolan government says the United States and other countries have begun sending food and other relief supplies for former UNITA rebels, some of whom are dying of malnutrition and disease.

Tens of thousands of former rebels are being housed in 38 government-run camps following last month's cease-fire accord that ended a 27-year civil war.

Angolan officials say two U.S. cargo planes carrying tents and medical supplies for the camps arrived in the capital Luanda on Wednesday. They say ships carrying food are also arriving from other countries. The Associated Press quotes an Angolan army commander, General Pedro Neto, as saying that an average of 120 former rebel fighters and their family members are dying from disease and hunger every day at the camps.

On Tuesday, the top U.N. advisor on Angola warned that unless the former rebels receive help quickly they could resort to large scale banditry.

U.N. officials say more than 65,000 UNITA soldiers and 160,000 of their family members have arrived at the 38 special camps since the April 4 cease-fire and another 15,000 more are expected in the near future.

The Angolan government and the rebels signed the ceasefire accord following the death of longtime UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in February.

Some four million people have been displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict.

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