Libmonster ID: UK-1331
Author(s) of the publication: S. A. KOLOMNIN

S. A. KOLOMNIN, Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Union of Angolan Veterans, Colonel of the Air Force in reserve

Keywords: Savimbi, war in Angola, reconciliation in Angola, UNITA, MPLA

It has been 12 years since the more than 25-year hunt for the leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA, Jonas Savimbi (killed in February 2002), ended. With his departure, the civil war in Angola (1975-2002) ended, which claimed the lives of not only hundreds of thousands of Angolans, but also hundreds of Cuban 1 and several dozen Soviet soldiers and officers 2.

Until now, foreign and Russian media outlets are developing versions about his death, discussing the circumstances of the operation to destroy the first leader of the Angolan opposition. Someone tries to attribute the laurels of eliminating Savimbi to the American special services, 3 and even write that foreign special forces allegedly took part in the operation to eliminate Savimbi. Some publications also investigate the "Russian trace", suggesting that Savimbi was destroyed by "a missile aimed at a satellite phone" - as in the case of the Chechen separatist leader Dzhokhar Dudayev.

Who really killed Savimbi? And how? In this article, you, the reader, are waiting for an interview with the one who led the operation to destroy Savimbi and actually put an end to the civil war in Angola - General of the Angolan Armed Forces Simau Carlitos Huala.


For several decades, General Jonas Savimbi led the most powerful armed opposition group in Angola, UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), which was based on the most numerous ethnic group in Angola - Ovimbundu. Since the 1970s, he was the permanent commander - in-chief of the army he created, the FALA (Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola), and had unlimited influence over field commanders, brutally nipping in the bud even the idea of reaching an agreement with the Angolan government and the MPLA leader, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

With the" Black Rooster "(as Savimbi himself and his entire organization were often called according to the UNITA symbolism:" The Black Rooster sings in the rays of the rising sun"), they repeatedly tried to negotiate. He was offered honorary positions, position, and money. At the same time, his property remained inviolable.

One day in the early 1980s, while working in Angola as a military interpreter, I visited Huambo 4, one of the most beautiful cities in Tropical Africa. "This is Savimbi's own house," the Angolan official who accompanied me pointed out. "This is where he lived until we drove the UNITA troops out of the city." "Can I see it?" "Yes, of course, no one lives there now!"

We enter a luxurious mansion. I was struck not so much by the interior decoration, but by the fact that all the mahogany and ebony furniture was preserved in the house, and none of the valuables belonging to the head of UNITA were broken or stolen. It seems that the house was more carefully guarded than any other bank.

Savimbi was ambitious 5. He had a maniacal desire for sole power and refused to share it with anyone. When the first UNITA-led general elections were held in Angola in 1992 under intense UN pressure, he was defeated and declared the results rigged. The head of UNITA indignantly rejected the position of Vice-president offered to him by the Angolan Government as "compensation" and ordered his supporters to resume hostilities.

"The wounded Dr. J. Savimbi claimed that the elections were rigged and demanded that the results be annulled, otherwise threatening to disrupt the peace process. However, international observers who followed the election rejected the accusations, calling them "generally free and fair" .6

In November 1994, a new agreement on peace and national reconciliation in Angola was reached in Lusaka (Zambia) with the mediation of Russia, the United States and Portugal. UNITA representatives first signed the agreement, but just a couple of hours later Savimbi changed his mind. He began to gather his strength, and in the

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In December 1998, he launched large-scale military operations against government forces.7

Savimbi needed all or nothing. It seems that the general decided to remain faithful to the oath that he solemnly pronounced on February 1, 1976, after the defeat of the main Cuban forces at Huambo. Then he publicly declared: "I will not leave the bush as long as I live." 8

According to his biographer F. Despite Brigland, Savimbi was brilliantly educated, possessed a truly demonic charm, easily charming his interlocutors with a deep knowledge of the essence of the problem and originality of judgments.9 A good friend of mine who worked in the Angolan Armed Forces in 1980-1983, now Commander - in - Chief of the Angolan Air Force, General Francisco Afonso (Anga), confessed after Savimbi's death: "There was something truly magical about this man. So by destroying it, we didn't defeat UNITA, we freed the organization from its spell."10

The Soviet leaders, who had staked the national liberation war in Angola on the leader of the MPLA (People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola) Agostinho Neto11, who was replaced by J. E. dos Santos after his death in 1979, nevertheless allowed for the possibility that Savimbi might sooner or later come to power. This is also evidenced by the fact that Savimbi visited Moscow in April 1964 and talked with a number of leaders of the Soviet Committee for Solidarity of Asian and African Countries (SCCAA)12. Not so long ago, previously unknown testimonies13 were published that during conversations in Moscow, Savimbi asked for admission to the USSR to study with his political and military representatives. 14 In the future, Savimbi became clearly oriented towards China, and these requests remained without consequences.15

But, as B. Putilin, a Soviet GRU resident who worked as first secretary of our embassy in Brazzaville (Congo-Brazzaville) in 1975, recalled, "The Center persistently set me the task of establishing contacts not only with the leadership of the MPLA, but also with representatives of other Angolan movements - UNITA and FNLA. But it was difficult to do that from Brazzaville. " 16

The situation changed dramatically when third parties intervened in the conflict. The FNLA (Front for the National Liberation of Angola), led by Holden Roberto, accepted the help of the United States and Zaire, which sent two battalions of its elite commandos to the country to help him. And South Africa decided to provide military support to UNITA.

All the" gestures " of the rebel General Savimbi and the activities of his organization were carefully monitored by the relevant Soviet structures. Here are excerpts from the certificate containing an assessment of the activities of UNITA, signed by the then head of the GRU, Colonel-General V. M. Mikhailov (spelling and stylistics are left unchanged)17.

"...The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) poses the greatest threat to the progressive system that exists in Angola... led by Jonas Savimbi... Currently, the UNITA maximum program aims at seizing power in the country.

...The UNITA leadership solves the tasks of seizing power in the country by achieving intermediate goals.

For example, in 1987, UNITA aims to continue its sabotage and terrorist activities throughout the country, while still focusing on undermining the economy and destabilizing political life; disrupt a large-scale operation of government forces in the south-east of the country; and intensify military activities in the northern and eastern economic regions with an attempt to seize diamond deposits...

To achieve these goals, the leadership of UNITA uses the " Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola "(FALA), which has a strength of 38 thousand people. with standard weapons and military equipment.

Military training of unitovtsy is carried out by South African officers in camps on the territory of Namibia. In addition, a number of training centers have been organized in Zaire, where, under the guidance of Western instructors, FALA personnel are mastering weapons supplied by the United States for Zh. Savimbi through the CIA (anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons).

...In recent years, the UNITA leadership has significantly stepped up its foreign policy activities, seeking to increase military and financial assistance from Western countries.

Colonel-General V. Mikhailov April 2, 1987"

The General Staff intelligence agency compiled and sent out such reports regularly, as if to remind the Soviet leaders that Savimbi was alive and would probably have to deal with him if the process of national reconciliation in Angola developed accordingly.

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The hunt for Savimbi has been going on for several decades. At first, the colonial authorities tried unsuccessfully to destroy it: they sent agents, poisoned it with poisons. But the mighty Jonash didn't take anything. After the declaration of independence and the MPLA came to power in November 1975, he was harassed by agents of the Angolan secret service DISA (Department of Information and Security of Angola) and detachments of the government army - FAPLA. However, Savimbi's organization, having recovered from the crushing defeat inflicted on it by the Cuban troops in 1975-1976, who fought on the side of the MPLA, slowly began to gain strength, and he himself, although he was on the verge of death several times, managed to survive.

UNITA recruited new supporters from among those dissatisfied with the new government, received more and more subsidies from "Western friends" and gradually, by the early 1980s, became the most powerful opposition force in Angola. Then Savimbi troops almost completely captured the province of Kwandu-Kubangu in the south-east of the country. It was there, in the endless savanna, that Savimbi founded his capital, Zhamba.

It was well equipped in engineering terms, had an extensive network of underground passages. There was also an airfield built by South Africans, a hospital, a powerful UNITA radio station "Voice of the Black Rooster". UNITA commanders and saboteurs were trained in Zhamba under the guidance of foreign, mainly South African advisers.

In the early 1980s, the Angolan Armed Forces (FAPLA) were tasked with "finding and destroying" Savimbi and destroying his radio station, Voice of the Black Cock. With the assistance and direct participation of Soviet military advisers, a number of major military operations were organized and conducted in an attempt to capture Zhamba. The rebels were pushed back, but the Angolan armed forces did not achieve decisive success.

Attempts were made to " get " Savimbi from the air. The Cuban command, at the request of the Angolan authorities, moved several MiG-21 aircraft to the southeast, closer to the "patrimony" of Savimbi. Cuban pilots tried to bomb Jamba in 1982-1984. 18 However, they did not achieve success due to the large distance of the objects (about 500 km). The pilots were forced to take more fuel than bombs, although after each such bombing, the "Black Rooster" stopped "crowing" for a while.

Air strikes on the Savimbi lair were also carried out later, when front-line Su-22M4 fighter-bombers were delivered from the USSR for Angolan aviation. So, at the end of 1989, the Angolan pilot M. de Pinelas, trained in the USSR, flew on such an aircraft several times to bomb Zhamba 19. After that, the Western press reported that Savimbi was injured and was treated in Europe for several months...


Realizing that FAPLA strikes are becoming more frequent and effective, and the pressure from the international community is increasing, Savimbi agreed to negotiate. Under the terms of the Lusaka Protocol of 20 November 1994 on National Reconciliation and a Ceasefire in Angola, UNITA was to disarm and "integrate" into peaceful life. But Savimbi, true to himself, made a truly "demonic" move.

Having ordered his least combat-ready units to hand over their weapons in 1997 and join the united army together with a number of generals, 20 he and his closest associates moved from Zhamba, which was left without air support from the South African aviation, to the center of the country - to Bailunda. And then he moved his most capable units to the northeast and captured several of the richest diamond-bearing regions of the country. The Government army, which by the mid-1990s had been stripped of its Soviet advisory staff, weapons supplies, and support for the Cuban troops that had been withdrawn from the country, and was also bound hand and foot by obligations to the UN, could not prevent it.

The population in the UNITA-controlled areas of Northern Lunda began mining diamonds for Savimbi at gunpoint. This provided UNITA with approximately $600 million in revenue per year. By the end of the 1990s. Savimbi received at his disposal about $3.7 billion.

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21 billion and purchased the most advanced weapons around the world. His emissaries became more frequent in the United States and Europe. Even appeared in... Russia and the CIS countries: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Belarus. They paid in cash. I still remember the scandal with the detention in 1995 at the airport of one of the African states of the Russian plane "Ruslan" with a cargo of weapons. The plane was traveling from Bulgaria to.. Ecuador. But why via Africa? In fact, the weapons were intended for Angola. But to whom exactly? Is unknown...

It is an indisputable fact that when the government forces gathered their forces into a fist and in 1999 defeated the main Savimbi bases in the center of the country, colossal arsenals of weapons and ammunition weighing about 15 thousand tons were captured there, including 15 brand-new BM-21 Grad installations, 20 self-propelled howitzers, 40 IFVs and APCs, about 30 modern tanks, several dozen sets of surface-to-air missiles, dozens of anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns 22. But most of all, international observers were struck by the most modern Russian Uragan MLRS captured from UNITA, which were never officially delivered to Africa.23

During the Angolan Army's Reshtaurasau (Reconstruction) operation, which began in 1999 over the next three years, Savimbi troops were driven out of the provinces of North and South Lunda, Huambu, Bie, Malange, and most of Moshiku. The former central base and "capital" of UNITA, Zhamba, was taken. A huge role in the success of this offensive was played by special forces units trained in the Angolan army, the so-called "hunters", well-armed and trained soldiers trained for close combat in the savanna. The knot around Savimbi began to tighten.


On December 16, 2001, Savimbi's field headquarters in the Kassamba area, which was constantly moving from place to place, was overtaken by detachments of government "hunters". The UNITA leader himself barely escaped. For almost twenty-four hours, alone, without weapons or bodyguards, he wandered through the savannah. He miraculously managed to evade pursuit and reach one of the UNITA field bases. When he fled, he left not only his entire wardrobe and personal belongings, including several rare antique rifles, but also several sets of brand-new general's shoulder straps, just delivered from Paris. And Savimbi was very sensitive to such things.

In this battle, he also lost three of his most loyal and extremely brutal bodyguards, with whom he had not parted for many years. They were captured by "hunters". It was a peculiar sign - the hunt for the" Black Rooster " was approaching its logical end.

And finally, on February 22, 2002, Savimbi and his staff were again overtaken by a group of "hunters" of the 20th brigade of the Angolan army, commanded by Brigadier General Simau Carlitos Huala, the youngest Angolan general at that time (he was barely 30 years old).

Here is what he told the author of these lines about the operation "Kissonde" ("Ant") carried out by his brigade, which ended with the death of Savimbi:

"I was confident in the success of the operation, which we called Kissonde." Savimbi, his staff and accompanying fighters, after a months-long pursuit in the savanna, were overtaken by "hunters" in Moshiku province in the area of the Lunge River tributaries-Bungu - Loli, Luvuei, Loei - near the border with Zambia. It was only 50-70 km away. He was moving east, rushing to where a fully operational UNITA unit was waiting for him.

Savimbi first crossed the Luvuey. Then, sensing that he was being followed, he divided his squad into several units in an attempt to confuse the tracks. One led by General Camorteiro, Chief of the General Staff of FALA, went along the left bank of the Loli to the west, while the other, led by General Sami, crossed the Loli and headed for the Loei tributary.

Savimbi's own group was small and included personal bodyguards and a small security detail led by General "Mole". He kept getting his tracks mixed up, going south and then turning north. It seemed to him that only a short time remained and he would break out of the ring. However, the soldiers of my brigade blocked all routes to the border with neighboring Zambia. And Savimbi panicked. When in the morning, around 7 o'clock, our fighters came out on the trail of his group, he felt it and ran. At about 15 o'clock in the afternoon, he collided with our troops, was attacked and died in a shootout."

At the end of our conversation, General Uala confessed: "I am a military man. I was glad that I had completed my task. But it was not joy over the death of another Angolan, but the hope that with his death the fratricidal war in Angola will end."

Well. Let's summarize.

American special forces have nothing to do with Savimbi's death. As well as missile launches, "guided by satellite phone". Fatal for the irreconcilable leader of UNITA was the automatic burst of an ordinary Angolan soldier from the Soviet AK-74. But the "Russian trace" in the destruction of Savimbi was not limited to this machine gun. The fact is that since the mid-1980s, Soviet military advisers began to train Angolan" hunters " - special forces.

And who prepared it! Beginning in 1984, a large group of Soviet special forces soldiers from

page 69

special forces of the KGB of the USSR "Vympel". It was created to perform special tasks abroad.

Vimpel employees worked in Angola as consultants. They helped the Angolans create special units to fight UNITA and South Africa. But at the same time they worked "for themselves", practicing methods and techniques of action in the conditions of "African reality"24. We estimated goals, selected objects of possible impact on the enemy, worked out possible options for conducting operations (both training and combat) and the means for their implementation, including in countries adjacent to Angola. Several dozen Vimpel employees "passed" through Angola. Among them are A. Mikhaylenko, P. Suslov, V. Kikot, K. Sivov, V. Ukolov, Yu. Penkov, V. Smyslov, A. Evglevsky, and Ya. Semenov, the head of the Zenit special group during the storming of the Amin Palace in Afghanistan in December 1979,25

Vympel employee Pyotr Suslov and his colleagues created the Special Operations Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Angola literally from scratch. For his bravery and generosity, the Angolans even gave him a" Nome de Guerra "(military name) - "Valente"(Brave)26. He has worked in the country for more than three years 27. During this time, he trained dozens of special forces and directly "accompanied" several major operations against UNITA and sabotage groups of South African special forces. But most importantly, P. Suslov and his colleagues created a system in Angola. The foundation was laid. The base of highly professional special forces. Which subsequently destroyed Savimbi.

After Savimbi's death, the UNITA military organization began to fall apart like a"house of cards". But the government of J. E. dos Santos acted humanely. An agreement was concluded that provided for the demilitarization of UNITA and the integration of its former soldiers into the Angolan army. Left without their irreconcilable leader, the Unita generals quickly agreed to negotiate.

In total, more than 5 thousand people were enlisted in the Angolan armed forces. former oppositionists, including 30 generals, 800 officers and non-commissioned officers, 4177 soldiers and sergeants; at the disposal of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Angola - 18 former Unita generals. In addition, another 40 officers, including three Major Generals FALA, were recruited into the Angolan National Police28.

This complex and stressful process culminated on 2 August 2002 , the day that marked the final dissolution of UNITA armed groups and the transformation of UNITA into a purely political organization ready to play by the rules of democracy.

* * *

The youngest general of the Angolan armed forces, the man who commanded Operation Kissonde, which led to the elimination of Savimbi, was enlisted in the reserve and sent to study in Russia-at the Military Academy named after him. Frunze 29. Out of harm's way. You never know, suddenly, one of the survivors of the irreconcilable unitovtsy will plan to take revenge on the man who destroyed Savimbi?

1 In total, from 1975 to the end of the 1980s, 2,077 Cubans died in Angola // Speech of the President of Cuba Fidel Castro on December 2, 2005 at the jubilee rally in honor of the 49th anniversary of the landing from the yacht "Granma "( Day of the Revolutionary Armed Forces) and the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Cuban military mission in Angola.

2 According to the Angolan Veterans ' Union, between 1975 and 1992, more than 80 Soviet citizens died in Angola while performing their official and international duties. - See: Memory Book-

3 Savimbi is dead, the war continues / / Red Star -

4 The Portuguese, who owned Angola until November 1975, planned to move the capital of Angola from Luanda to this place.

5 See: Shubin V. G. Goryachaya "kholodnaya voina" [Hot "Cold War"], Moscow, YASK Publ., 2013, p. 34.

Tokarev A. A. 6 The Black rooster of Angola / / Asia and Africa today. 2002. N 6.

7 Angola. Ethnoses and nation / / Materials of the scientific colloquium. Angolan Embassy in Russia. Moscow, 2003, p. 79.

Stockwell 8J. CIA contra Angola. Uniao Dos Escritores Angolanos. Luanda. 1980.

Brigland 9 F.Jonas Savimhi: A Key to Africa. Johannesburg: Macmillan South Africa, 1986.

10 The author's conversation with F. To Afois. October 11, 2007, Moscow.

11 Relations between Moscow and A. Neto were rather complicated, and the SRT was repeatedly criticized for " ignoring... national issues in the formation of governing bodies, underestimation of political and educational work and individual leadership methods" in the MPLA. For more information, see: Shubin V. G. Decree op. Chapter "Zigzags of history".

Shubin V. G. 12 Decree. Op. From 34.

13 Personal archive of an employee of the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU E. Kapsky, transferred by his widow to the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences. - See: Shubin V. G. Decree. op. p. 35.

14 Ibid., pp. 34-35.

16 During a visit to Beijing in 1965, Savimbi received support from Mao Zedong, financial assistance, and military training. - See: Tokarev A. A. Decree. Op.

16 The author's conversation with B. G. Putilin. November 2004, Moscow. For more information, see: Kolomnin S. A. Russian special forces in Africa. Moscow, Eksmo, Yauza. 2002.

17 From the author's personal archive. The document was handed over to the Museum of the Union of Veterans of Angola in Moscow. The full document is published in the book: Kolomnin S. A. Decree. op. p. 200.

18 The author participated in the preparation of these combat missions, and in 1980-1983 worked as a military interpreter for a group of Soviet military advisers to the Angolan Air Force. For more information, see: Kolomnin S. A. Decree, op. pp. 205-216.

19 Memoirs of the Chief Military Adviser in Angola, Colonel-General K. Ya. Kurochkin / / Angola-30 years of independence and 3 years of peace. Moscow, OOO "PRAD", 2005.

20 Since February 1997, when the Government of National Reconciliation was formed in Angola and the unified armed forces were established, the country has remained calm for about a year and a half, but the national reconciliation process was disrupted by Savimbi. - See: Angola. Ethnoses and nation... p. 70.

21 Ibid., p. 71.

22 Author's interview with the military attache of Angola in Moscow, General Luis Inacio Mushitu / / Journal of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation "Orientir", November 2004.

23 Ibid.

Evdokimov P. 24 Spetsnaz kholodnoy voiny [Special forces of the Cold War]. 2006, N 8(119).

25 Author's conversation with P. E. Suslov, a member of the Angolan Veterans ' Union. November 2008, Moscow.

26 The honorary "Nome de Gueira" (military name, nickname) is worn by almost all Angolan leaders who participated in the guerrilla war against the Portuguese. It often replaces the real name given at birth.

Evdokimov P. 27 Decree. Op.

28 Author's interview with the Angolan military Attache in Moscow, General Luis Inacio Mushitu...

28 General S. K. Uala successfully graduated from the Military Academy named after him. Frunze stayed in Moscow and returned to Angola. Currently, he holds a high position in the Angolan armed forces.


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