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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Angola's war 'is over'
Ex-Unita soldiers in demobilisation camp
Former rebels are waiting for civilian training
Angola's former rebel movement has officially disbanded its armed wing, marking the end of 27 years of civil war.

Defence Minister Kundi Paihama and Unita's interim leader General Paulo Lukamba Gato declared that the war was now definitely over at a ceremony in Luanda.


The war has ended

Kundi Paihama Defence Minister
About 5,000 former Unita fighters have been selected to join the national army but they have not yet been reintegrated into the government force.

The death of former Unita leader Jonas Savimbi earlier this year quickly led to the end of the war and a ceasefire was signed in April.

But Angola analysts are not completely convinced that the war is finally over.

Hungry ex-rebels

Another 75,000 former rebel fighters are in demobilisation camps, waiting for training and jobs so they can earn a living in civilian society.

Around 300,000 of their relatives are also living in the camps and are desperately short of food.

Hungry woman
Food is needed for 300,000 former rebels and their families

"That 80,000 fighters have been demobilised is a big thing," said Joao Van Dunen from the BBC's Portuguese Service.

But he warned that if food is not found for those in the camps for ex-Unita fighters, they may resort to banditry to feed themselves.

At least 500 people have died from hunger and disease since April, Unita leader General Gato said last month.

At Friday's ceremony, 30 generals and other high-ranking officers officially joined the Angolan army.

"Unita has transformed and now there is peace," General Gato said.

"The war has ended," said the defence minister.

Jonas Savimbi, killed after 26 years of civil war

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