Savimbi, Jonas (Malheiro)


Savimbi, Jonas (Malheiro)

biographical name

(born Aug. 3, 1934, Portuguese Angola—died Feb. 22, 2002, near Lucusse, Angola) Angolan guerrilla leader and politician. After obtaining a doctorate abroad, Savimbi returned to found the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in 1966. With aid from China, South Africa, and the U.S., UNITA developed a large guerrilla army and embarked on an extended war against the Soviet-backed Angolan government. In 1991 Savimbi agreed to participate in free multiparty elections, but after losing he resumed his military campaign. A peace accord (1994) and later agreements (1996) permitted UNITA to join a coalition government; many of the agreements' measures were carried out under UN auspices, but Savimbi declined to become vice president, and violence continued until his death. UNITA signed a peace agreement in April 2002.

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