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Archive for Sunday, February 24, 2002

Death raises peace hopes in Angola

February 24, 2002

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— The death of legendary Angolan rebel Jonas Savimbi could herald the end of nearly 25 years of civil wars, analysts say.

Savimbi, whose holstered revolver, rakish beret and power-hungry reputation came to epitomize the swaggering image of an African guerrilla fighter, was gunned down in an ambush Friday, Angolan government sources say.

Late Saturday, Savimbi's UNITA movement confirmed that he was dead.

Funded by billions of dollars' worth of rebel-mined diamonds, UNITA has continued to challenge the government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, a former leftist whose regime has funneled Angola's oil wealth into huge arms purchases.

That rivalry has left at least 500,000 Angolans dead and millions more impoverished.

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