The last major town in the north of Angola to be held by the FNLA (the National Front for the Liberation of Angola) was over-run by troops of the MPLA (the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) on Sunday (8 February).
GV Shelled bridge and road
MV Bridge and lorries in river
MCU Truck and bulldozer in river
LV People crossing bridge (3 shots)
GV Burnt out and destroyed cotton factory
MV PAN Debris of factory (2 shots)
GV Redondo town
GV Main street in town
MV Cuban and Angolan soldiers in landrover
GV Soldiers patrolling street
GV 'House on hill' where Cubans stay
Initials CL/0200 CL/0210
This film is serviced with a sound commentary by BBC reporter, Martin Bell, and a transcript is provided on page two.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The last major town in the north of Angola to be held by the FNLA (the National Front for the Liberation of Angola) was over-run by troops of the MPLA (the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) on Sunday (8 February).
The town, Sao Salvador, was the last one to which the FNLA forces could fall back on, and there is very little land left to them, even if they carry out their stated intention of reverting to guerrilla warfare.
In the south of Angola the MPLA also captured the political and administrative capital of UNITA (the natural Union for the Total Independence of Angola) on the following day, Monday (9 February). Six thousand Cuban troops, backed by Soviet-built tanks, jets and artillery, over-ran the town, forcing its five thousand defenders to retreat to the east and south.
The Yugoslav News Agency in Belgrade claimed that the Western-backed UNITA and FNLA forces, together with their allies, had been totally defeated in the civil war by the Cuban and Soviet-backed MPLA.
Shortly before the MPLA forces had captured Sao Salvador in the north, they had taken the strategically important town of Novo Redondo from which they could launch their last major push. According to some reports, the battle for the town cost approximately a thousand dead. As the FNLA forces abandoned the town they destroyed the bridge and road behind them.
When BBC reporter, Martin Bell, arrived in the newly captured town, he saw the ruins of what was once a cotton processing factory. Officials of the MPLA claimed that it had been destroyed by South African forces fighting alongside the FNLA, as part of a deliberate policy of sabotaging property as they withdrew.