Increasing violence and a policy of terror
MSF Report<BR> Angola: Pretence of normality
9 November 2000
The displaced people give factual accounts of extreme violence, not only against men who refused to be conscripted or to undertake forced work, but now also towards the most vulnerable - women, children, elderly people. The majority of this violence (murder, mutilations, rapes...) was perpetrated by Unita, but similar practices were perpetrated by the FAA. There are accounts of the FAA practice known as the "Batidas"in Bié Province, whereby the troops, upon arriving in a village, select a certain number of inhabitants and force them to transport food and hardware which was looted from the population. If they refuse, the villagers risk being beaten or killed. Indiscriminate violence increased sharply since the conflict restarted at the end of 1998. Displaced people often referred to "before "the preceding period of conflict (before the agreement of Lusaka). They affirm that the murder that they have experienced or witnessed have increased in intensity and they mention acts of great cruelty. It is no longer a question of killing in order to loot or weaken the enemy, but of exercising a veritable policy of terror towards the civilian population. It was a day at the end of December 1998, Unita came at five am to set fire to the village. They did one of two things: either killed the people first then burned them with the house, or they put a the whole family inside then set fire to the house when they were still alive
any person who tried to escape was massacred with the machete! My aunt, my uncle and their son, were killed like this.
Displaced person from Huambo Province
Before, the FAA did not use to rape women. They have started with this war. Single or married women, it doesn't matter. They break into houses, tell the man to leave, threatening them at gunpoint and then they rape the woman. I don't know any cases of one woman raped by many troops, but cases of women raped by one soldier I know many.
Displaced person from Bié Province.
Now, the crimes are meticulous and they are never left half done! I do not know what wars are like elsewhere but here it is no longer enough to just kill! It is necessary to massacre! Even if you survive, you will always have the memory printed on you.
Displaced person province of Huambo
In my group there was an old man, older than 60, who was given a very heavy bag to carry. Because of the weight he was always behind the group and all the time he had a soldier beating him for that. At some point he couldn't carry the bag anymore and was beaten to death.
Displaced person from Bié Province