Thursday, January 28, 1999 Published at 18:26 GMT
Angola's forgotten conflict
Praying for peace in Luanda
By BBC Africa Correspondent Jane Standley in Luena
After four years of supposed peace - while intermittent fighting continued - Angola is once again consumed by all-out war.
'Almost every Angolan I met has lost someone'
The ticket office at the railway station in Luena - the most heavily mined region of what is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world - doesn't sell tickets any more.
Antonio's wife Andreza raises their family of five in this one room - they consider themselves lucky to have escaped intact from the war in the countryside. Well, almost intact.
Antonio lost both his legs to a landmine just after he arrived in what he thought was the safety of Luena, the provincial capital of Moxico province and as such defended by the government army. But at least none of his family was killed.
There is a mine planted for every Angolan man, woman and child. It played on my mind with each step that I took.
'Angola's curse is to be too rich'
The Angolan government still uses a slogan from its days of Marxist revolution - A Luta Continua - the struggle continues. It certainly does for almost all Angolans.
I felt what so many other visitors had told me you always feel in Angola - extreme anger. Angola's curse is to be just too rich - to have such a lot to fight over.
There are fields of diamonds and oil here, rich agricultural land in which anything grows. But because of the war, no ordinary Angolan is harvesting the wealth.
Everyone wants a part of it though - and the chaos of war is providing the opportunity for some to loot it. The Unita rebels take the diamonds, senior members of the government skim off millions from the oil deals.
I hear the argument frequently, that there are people who want the fighting to go on for another 30 years - because corruption is easier when there's a war on.
'Everyone believes it's just a matter of time'
I am lucky. Unlike the Angolans I've met, I have a ride out of Luena. By air. The small plane had plunged through the clouds from high over the besieged city on the way in.
The refugees from the countryside try every day to fight their way onto the terrifying flights to try to get out of Luena - before the shelling begins. Everyone here believes it's just a matter of time - the Unita rebels are within easy range - the city has been bombarded before - once for 45 continuous days.
Climbing aboard I feel the anger again - and the terrible guilt of leaving.
Angola's war is a largely forgotten war - its intractability has driven many mediators away, consumed by frustration. But its people must not be forgotten.
It is not just Angola's natural resources which are worth fighting for.