Angola's Unita leader escapes death in car accident

Angola’s main opposition party leader Isaías Samakuva. PHOTO | COURTESY UNITA 

Angola’s main opposition party leader Isaías Samakuva narrowly escaped death after a convoy in which he was travelling was involved in a serious road accident on Tuesday.

In a statement, the National Union for the Total Independence (Unita) party said the accident occurred at a junction connecting Bié and Kuando Kubango provinces, 720km south of the capital Luanda.

“Unita President Mr Isaías Samakuva has survived a plot on his life,” the statement reads in part.

According to the statement, Mr Samakuva's car overturned four times after a Mercedes Benz driven by a Chinese national rammed into it at the junction.

“The vehicle the president was using was deliberately hit by a Chinese national, Mr Samakuva has only suffered some scratches and bruises in the left arm,” the statement reads.

Other members of the delegation were also wounded and police have seized the Chinese national.

According to Unita, the accident was politically motivated.

Civil war

“We (Unita) accuse President Jose Eduardo dos Santos regime through its security services and its Chinese communist allies of being responsible for this accident.”

On Sunday, police raided the party’s headquarters and confiscated some audiovisual materials.

The party recently marked the 11th anniversary since the death of its former leader Jonas Savimbi.

Unita, a movement that first waged a guerrilla war against Portuguese colonial rule in the southern African nation, was founded on March 13, 1966 by Dr Savimbi.

Dr Savimbi also led the 27-year Angolan civil war against the ruling MPLA party from 1975 until his death in a clash with government troops on February 22, 2002.

Mr Samakuva succeeded him from 2003 at the party's ninth congress.

Meanwhile, police in Bie Province have issued a statement through state television that they were not aware of the Unita's delegation trip to the region.

“If we would know about the trip, we would clear the road, ” Bié Province Police Commander Eduardo Cerqueira was quoted as saying.

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