The Angolan guerrilla group, UNITA, say it will not allow the vital Benguela Railway to re-open -- unless there is a change in the country's political balance.
SV UNITA spokesman Jeremias Chitunda seated at table talking to newsmen. (2 SHOTS)
CU Chitunda speaking in English to Visnews reporter John Darby.
CHITUNDA:"We are active in well over one half of the country's territory -- that's in the provinces of Mexico, Cuando Cubango, Bie, Huambo, Benguela, Guanza, Sul, Cunene. And this is an area with well above one half of the country's population, this is more than three million people."
DARBY:"Now, the Benguela railway... how much control do you have of the railway, and under what circumstances might you allow it to re-open.?"
CHITUNDA:"The Benguela railway runs almost entirely through UNITA-controlled territory. Of the one thousand three hundred kilometres of the Benguela railway's length, a thousand runs through territories completely controlled by UNITA. This is what's making it possible for us to paralyse effectively the Benguela railroad. It cannot function, it will never function because UNITA cannot permit the Benguela railway to be utilised to bring in Cubans to massacre our people, nor do we think it would be any good for us, or for neighbouring countries, if the Benguela railway were utilised as an instrument of political and military pressure by the Soviet Union against Zaire and Zambia. This is why we are effectively paralysing the railway."
REPORTER: JOHN DARBY
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Background: The Angolan guerrilla group, UNITA, say it will not allow the vital Benguela Railway to re-open -- unless there is a change in the country's political balance. A senior member of UNITA, Mr. Jeremias Chitunda, said in London on Thursday (18 January) that his organisation controls nearly all the territory through which the railway runs.
SYNOPSIS: At a news conference, Mr. Chitunda maintained that the railway could be a powerful tool if it fell in into the hands of the Soviet Union or cuba. Although a ceremony was held in November to mark the re-opening of the line, no trains have run since then. Before it closed, the Benguela carried most of Zaire's copper output to the coast as well as a large proportion of Zambia's exports. Visnews reporter John Darby asked Mr. Chitunda in an interview just how much power the UNITA guerrillas hold in Angola.