Visnews cameraman William Mutschmann said in London on Tuesday (16 October), following his release from jail in Angola, that he had seen large quantities of Soviet weapons and aircraft in Luanda, the capital of the civil-war-torn former Portuguese colony.
SV INTERIOR William Mutschmann seated with interviewer Bill Ward
WARD: "Bill, what charges did they lock you up in Angola?"
MUTSCHMANN: "The charges were based primarily on being a C.I.A. agent ...and sending out telexes giving the military positions of the M.P.L.A."
WARD: "Now, you are the Visnews and C.B.S. correspondent for southern Africa based in Rhodesia. We know you are a newsmen. Are you in fact a C.I.A. agent?"
MUTSCHMANN: "No....no. I have signed many documents in Angola and I assure you I am not a C.I.A. agent."
WARD: "Did the fact that you were locked up in Luanda which is M.P.L.A. held have any bearing do you think on your previous missions in Angola which were with U.N.I.T.A?"
MUTSCHMANN: "I don't believe so. As far as I could find the M.P.L.A. never discerned or never discovered the fact that I had been in a month previously with U.N.I.T.A."
WARD: "How long were you held in this particular jail?"
MUTSCHMANN: "We were there eighteen days."
WARD: "What were the conditions like?"
MUTSCHMANN: "Well, Don and I were separated right after we were put into prison and Don was held in a converted classroom up at the top of the hill. And I was moved down to what I referred to as the 'Black Hole'. It's a small eighteen by twenty four roughly room. And we had roughly anywhere from eighteen to twenty four people in this room -- depending on the prison population."
WARD: "Black or white?"
MUTSCHMANN: "A mixture. There were about four or five white Angolans and the balance were black Angolans."
WARD: "Did you see any evidence of any physical violence while you were in there?"
MUTSCHMANN: "Yes...beatings were almost a daily occurrence."
WARD: "And the guards at the prison -- the makeshift prison -- they were also armed with the sort of weapons?"
MUTSCHMANN: "With A-K's primarily, which is a Russian automatic rifle. There were a few G-Three automatic rifles which were given to them by the Portuguese. We saw a great number of Russian arms as far as rocket launchers and this sort of thing ... were carried around the area."
WARD: "What were food and sanitation conditions like?"
MUTSCHMANN: "Well food was rice and pounded-meal with occasionally some rotten fish. The food was about half edible."
WARD: "And sanitation?"
MUTSCHMANN: "Sanitation was almost non-existent."
WARD: "From where you were I gather you could see the airport. Did you see much in the way of air traffic coming in and out?"
MUTSCHMANN: "Yes...there was quite a bit of air traffic. T.A.P. of course has a regular scheduled flight almost nightly from Lisbon to Angola and return. Then there was a fair amount of military traffic which appeared to be Aeroflot -- some of it...."
WARD: "Aeroflot the Russian....."
MUTSCHMANN: "The Russian....."
WARD: " ...Airline."
MUTSCHMANN: "Cargo 'planes and some other 'planes with no markings. We were not sure where they were from but they were obviously cargo 'planes."
This film is serviced with an interview in English throughout between Visnews cameraman William Mutschmann and Visnews Africa Editor William Ward, a transcript of which follows.
London, where Visnews cameraman William Mutschmann, is staying after his release from jail in Angola. Mutschmann said he witnessed the arms build up by the Soviet Union in Luanda.
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Background: Visnews cameraman William Mutschmann said in London on Tuesday (16 October), following his release from jail in Angola, that he had seen large quantities of Soviet weapons and aircraft in Luanda, the capital of the civil-war-torn former Portuguese colony.
In an interview with Visnews Africa Editor, William Ward, Mr. Mutschmann said his captors and all other troops he had seen in Luanda were armed with Soviet arms -- including rocket launchers and the A-K 47 automatic rifle.
Mr. Mutschmann said that from the window on one make-shift jail where he was held for 18 days, he watched about 15 aircraft a day arrive and depart. Many of them with Soviet airline "Aeroflot" markings on them. Although he could not identify the types of aircraft, he said that they were large cargo carrying 'planes.
Mr. Mutschmann, a cameraman-journalist, based in Salisbury, Rhodesia, was on assignment in Angola for CBS of America. He was arrested by soldiers of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Angola -- the M.P.L.A. This is one of three rival factions, fighting for the control of Angola. Also arrested was another CBS correspondent, Don Webster, normally based in Beirut, Lebanon.
Both men were detained shortly after independence on November 11, and placed in separate cells in what had formerly been a school. They were released last week, after three weeks of interrogation in two prisons, and charges alleging they were C.I.A. agents and filing "subversive" material from Angola, were dropped. The two men denied the charges.
During his stay in the "school" jail, 50-year old U.S. born Mr. Mutschmann said that conditions were bad with no toilet facilities and "half edible" food. Beatings by guards were part of the daily routine against black prisoners. There were also four or five white Angolans in his cell which he dubbed the "Black Hole".