The last Portuguese troops at the giant Luanda airbase handed the complex over the soldiers of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) on Sunday (9 November) as hopes faded for peaceful transition to independence after 500 years of Portuguese rule.
GV Aircraft on tarmac
LV Baggage carried aboard
CU & SV Troops watch as personnel board aircraft (3 shots)
SV & LV Troops watch as aircraft doors close (2 shots)
LV PAN Aircraft taxis away
LV Luanda air force base
SV PAN FROM Portuguese troops saluting TO flag being lowered
SV Troops walk to lorries
LV & CU Troops on lorry (2 shots)
LV PAN Lorry load of troops leave
SV MPLA soldier relieves Portuguese at guard house
CU PAN MPLA soldier
SV PAN Last Portuguese troops leave in car
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Background: The last Portuguese troops at the giant Luanda airbase handed the complex over the soldiers of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) on Sunday (9 November) as hopes faded for peaceful transition to independence after 500 years of Portuguese rule.
For the MPLA -- which occupies the region around the capital -- the base is a grim reminder of the role it played in Portugal's long colonial war against independence.
The Portuguese departure came only two days before the west African territory becomes independent on Tuesday (II November) -- exactly 500 years to the day since the founding of Luanda.
The Portuguese leave a new nation deeply divided, with the MPLA facing attacks by the rival National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The MPLA is backed with arms by the Soviet Union. The FNLA is supported by Zaire and supplied with arms by China and both the FNLA and UNITA have received weapons manufactured in the United States.
Despite many attempts to achieve a permanent ceasefire between the MPLA on one side, and the FNLA and UNITA on the other, all have failed and fierce fighting continues in many areas of the country.
The situation has aggravated events in Portugal, which has been accused of leaving Angola in a vacuum and on the brink of full-scale civil war.
Thousands of refugees including Portuguese businessmen and farmers have left Angola with their families for Portugal.
The last representatives of Portuguese colonial rule will leave Angola minutes before midnight on Monday (10 November). Just how the handover of control will take place is still unclear, although the MPLA have declared they will take independence alone.