The Prime Minister of the Luanda-based Angolan Government, formed by the Soviet-backed Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Senior Lopo do Nascimento, hold a news conference while visiting Nigeria on Thursday (18 December) to back up MPLA claims that regular South African troops are involved in the Angolan conflict.
INSTITUTE OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS IN LAGOS: JOURNALISTS GATHERED: NASCIMENTO SPEAKING: SOUTH AFRICAN PRISONERS: NEWSMEN: NASCIMENTO SPEAKING WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION THROUGH INTERPRETER.
INTERPRETER: "The use of mercenaries has been unilaterally condemned by the Organisation of African Unity."
(Senior Nascimento continues in Portuguese)
INTERPRETER: "How can one justify the imposition of reconciliation, enforcing the criteria of unity for unity's sake, between a revolutionary movement which undeniably embodies the legitimate aspirations of the masses of the people of Angola, and the counter-revolutionary groups which have been proved to be in league with the minority-racist regimes of South Africa and the so-called Rhodesia -- which not only want to maintain an atrocious internal status quo, and are acting with impunity beyond their own geographical frontiers -- but have been categorically condemned by the OAU itself and by the democratic progressive force of the whole world."
This film includes part of Senior Nascimento's news conference in Portuguese. English translation was provided by an interpreter. A transcript of the English translation follows:
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Background: The Prime Minister of the Luanda-based Angolan Government, formed by the Soviet-backed Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Senior Lopo do Nascimento, hold a news conference while visiting Nigeria on Thursday (18 December) to back up MPLA claims that regular South African troops are involved in the Angolan conflict.
Senior Nascimento presented two South African soldiers, Corporal Hannos Terblancho and Private Robert Wiehahn, to reinforce his claims that South Africa is aiding the joint forces of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Front for Liberation of Angola (FNLA).
Senior Nascimento claimed that South Africa had about 1,000 regular troops in Angola and that the number were rising.
He said the MPLA would accept offers of troops from and friendly African country, in view of the increased South African involvement.
But he said the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) had shown "scandalous passivity" while Angola was being occupied by South Africa, and that the MPLA would not accept troops offered through the OAU.
He told reporters that the two South African mechanics were captured 600 miles (965 kilometres) beyond the South-West African border last Sunday (14 December). Both men looked in good condition at the news conference and said they had been well treated.
Four prisoners were taken in all and they have been reported as saying the entered Angola in a logistical support convoy to work with the joint FNLA-UNITA forces in the struggle against the MPLA.