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Last Updated: Friday, 27 June, 2003, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
Unita elects new leader
Unita guerrillas
Unita transformed from rebel army to political party

Angola's former rebel movement, Unita, has elected a new leader to succeed its founder, Jonas Savimbi.

Isaias Samakuva is a former Unita diplomatic representative who is seen as the favoured candidate of western countries.

Mr Samakuva won a landslide victory at a congress near the capital, Luanda, which correspondents say marks the end of Unita's transition from a rebel army to a political party.

The 57 year-old, of the same Ovimbundu tribe as Savimbi - who was killed by government soldiers last year - defeated interim Unita leader Paulo Lukamba.

Envoy

Unita transformed itself into a political party last year, after the end of a 27-year civil war that claimed about 500,000 lives.

Unita signed a peace deal with the Angolan government soon after Mr Savimbi's death.

In the 1980s Mr Samakuva served as Unita's logistics chief and headed Savimbi's cabinet.

He left Angola in 1989 to represent the movement in Europe.

He returned to the country last year.


SEE ALSO:
Unita leader 'stepping down'
04 Feb 03  |  Africa
General Gato: Unita's new leader
04 Apr 02  |  Africa
Angola marks one year of peace
04 Apr 03  |  Africa
IMF probes Angola's oil sales
30 Apr 03  |  Business


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