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Monday, 27 August, 2001, 00:19 GMT 01:19 UK
Many feared dead in Angola ambush
Angola
A group of men apparently fired at the bus
By Justin Pearce in Luanda

In Angola, reports are coming of a bus that was ambushed in the north of the country on Friday.

One report said 50 people had been killed. The attack happened exactly a week after Unita rebels ambushed a train, killing two hundred people.

But it is not clear who is behind this latest attack.

About a hundred people were on board the bus which was attacked on Friday near the town of Cacolo in Malange province, about 400 km east of Luanda.

Toll unclear

The Catholic radio station, Radio Ecclesia, reported that a group of men had fired a missile at the bus, causing the vehicle to catch fire.

They then shot at people who tried to escape the flames.

The death toll is not confirmed, but the Portuguese news agency, Lusa, quoted a police source as saying 50 people were killed.

Hospital officials in the nearby city of Malange were not able to confirm the number of deaths, but told journalists that 12 people were injured, including a child aged 15 months.

Earlier this year, the roads around Malange were considered reasonably safe. But ambushes began taking place in May.

Regular attacks

It is not clear who is to blame for this latest attack.

Ambushes occur almost on a weekly basis in Angola, though the targets are usually trucks rather than buses, and robbery is often the motive.

While some of these attacks may be the work of the Unita rebels, they might equally well be carried out by armed gangs which may include renegade soldiers either from the army or from Unita.

On the other hand, this attack on a passenger vehicle came exactly a week after an attack on a train in which about 200 people died, most of them civilians.

Unita admitted having carried out that attack, and sought to justify it by saying the train was carrying weapons.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Justin Pearce in Luanda
"There were about a hundred people on the bus"
Lara Pawson, former BBC correspondent
is asked who she thinks may be responsible for the attack
See also:

12 Aug 01 | Africa
Angola train toll rises
26 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Angola
26 Jun 01 | Africa
Angola rebels attack Uige
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