US embassy cable - 85GABORONE98

ANGOLANS IN SADF SEEK REFUGE IN BOTSWANA

Identifier: 85GABORONE98
Wikileaks: View 85GABORONE98 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Gaborone
Created: 1985-01-10 10:05:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL SREF SHUM PGOV WA SF BC
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 101005Z JAN 85
FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2135
INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN
AMEMBASSY ROME
AMEMBASSY GENEVA
AMEMBASSY LISBON
USLO WINDHOEK
AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
C O N F I D E N T I A L GABORONE 0098 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S - MS. BLACKFORD; ROME FOR INS 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PREL, SREF, SHUM, PGOV, WA, SF, BC 
SUBJECT: ANGOLANS IN SADF SEEK REFUGE IN BOTSWANA 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY: ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, TWO ANGOLAN MEMBERS OF THE SADF, 
WITH THEIR FAMILIES, SOUGHT REFUGEE STATUS IN BOTSWANA AND 
APPLIED FOR THE AMERICAN RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM.  AFTER MEETING WITH 
EMBOFFS, THE MEN WERE SENT TO THE LOCAL UNHCR OFFICIALS TO 
REGISTER AS REFUGEES.  PROBLEMS CONNECTED WITH THEIR APPLI- 
CATIONS FOR REFUGEE STATUS ARE REPORTED SEPTEL.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  ON JANUARY 4, TWO ANGOLAN MEMBERS OF THE SADF'S 32ND- 
BATTALION "BUFFALO COMPANY," CAME TO THE EMBASSY SEEKING REFUGEE 
STATUS AND INQUIRING ABOUT THE AMERICAN RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM 
(SEPTEL).  THE TWO FAMILIES TOTAL 15 PEOPLE. 
 
4.  THE MEN, JOAO FAUSTINO SALES AND LASERU NHUKWETE, CLAIMED 
THAT THEY AND THEIR FAMILIES HAD FLED SOUTHERN ANGOLA IN THE 
DEBACLE OF 1976, SALES FROM SA DA BANDIERA (NOW LUBANGO) AND 
NHUKWETE FROM LUIMBALE (NEAR HUAMBO).  BOTH MEN SUPPORTED FNLA, 
SALES BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR COORDINATING FOOD AND GUNS FOR THE 
FNLA. 
 
5.  FROM 1976 TO 1978, THE FAMILIES REPORTEDLY LIVED IN AN 
ANGOLAN REFUGEE CAMP NEAR RUNDU ON THE ANGOLAN-NAMIBIAN BORDER; 
ANOTHER ANGOLAN REFUGEE CAMP WAS LOCATED FURTHER EAST IN THE 
CAPRIVI.  IN 1978, THE SOUTH AFRICANS GAVE THE REFUGEES TWO OPTIONS: 
THEY COULD JOIN THE SADF, OR BE RETURNED TO ANGOLA.  THE 
REFUGEE CAMPS WERE TO BE DESTROYED.  SALES AND NHUKWETE JOINED 
THE SADF AND ENDED UP AS TEACHERS FOR ANGOLAN CHILDREN OF OTHER 
RECRUITS.  SALES TAUGHT PORTUGUESE AND NHUKWETE SCIENCE.  SALES 
HELD RANK OF LANCE CORPORAL AND NHUKWETE CORPORAL. 
6.  ACCORDING TO SALES AND NHUKWETE, THE 32ND BATTALION IS 
COMPOSED COMPLETELY OF ANGOLANS, UNTIL 1978 ALL FNLA SUPPORTERS. 
SINCE THEN, A NUMBER OF UNITA SUPPORTERS AND "APOLITICAL" 
ANGOLANS HAVE ALSO JOINED THE 32ND.  WHILE THE ENLISTED MEN ARE 
BLACK ANGOLANS, THE OFFICERS ARE WHITE SOUTH AFRICANS, WHO ARE 
EORCED TO LEARN PORTUGESE IN ORDER TO COMMUNICATE.  (SALES AND 
NHUKWETE SPOKE PASSABLE ENGLISH, BUT FELT MORE COMFORTABLE 
TALKING IN PORTUGUESE WITH THE EMBASSY'S REFUGEE OFFICER.) 
 
7.  IN NOVEMBER 1983, THE MEN SAID THAT "SOUTH AFRICAN 
INTELLIGENCE" OFFICERS ENCOURAGED THE FOUNDING IN WINDHOEK OF A 
GROUP CALLED "THE SOCIO-CULTURAL ASSOCIATION OF ANGOLANS IN 
SOUTH WEST AFRICA."  THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OR NATIONAL CHAIRMAN 
OF THE ORGANIZATION IS ALLEGEDLY TIMOTYO VICTOR, A UNITA 
SYMPATHIZER.  THE NEW ORGANIZATION WAS INTRODUCED TO THE 
ANGOLANS AT RUNDU BY A COL. VILJOEN (WHOSE NICKNAME IS 
"FANAKOLO," THE NAME GIVEN TO THE LANGUAGE USED IN SOUTH AFRICAN 
MINES, SINCE VILJOEN ALLEGEDLY WORKED IN THE MINES BEFORE JOINING 
THE SADF).  THE PRESIDENT OF THE RUNDU BRANCH IS JOAO APOLINARIO 
WHILE NHUKWERE WAS VICE-PRESIDENT AND SALES SECRETARY. 
ACCORDING TO A COPY OF THE SPEECH GIVEN BY THE COMMANDING 
OFFICER (EMBASSY HAS ENGLISH COPY WHICH WILL BE FORWARDED TO 
AF/S), THE PURPOSE OF THE REORGANIZATION IS "TO PROMOTE 
FRIENDLY CULTURAL TIES AMONGST MEMBERS OF THE ANGOLAN COMMUNITY 
IN SWA...TO MEET FELLOW SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS OF WINDHOEK, 
TSUMEB, KATIMA MULILO, AND RUNDU AT SOCCER MATCHES AND OTHER 
SPORTS EVENTS."  EVERYONE WHO IS A "TRUE ANGOLAN" WAS EN- 
COURAGED TO JOIN THE ORGANIZATION. 
 
8.  IN NOVEMBER 1984, AN EXECUTIVE MEETING OF THE ORGANIZATION 
WAS HELD IN WINDHOEK AND ATTENDED BY ALL BRANCH LEADERS AND 
A LARGE NUMBER OF SADF OFFICERS OF COLONEL RANK OR HIGHER, 
ALL BELIEVED BY THE ANGOLANS TO BE FROM SADF INTELLIGENCE.  THE 
ANGOLANS WERE TOLD THAT THE "FIRST PHASE" OF THE PROGRAM HAD 
BEEN COMPLETED AND THEY COULD MOVE ON TO THE "SECOND PHASE."  THE MEN 
RECEIVED A LECTURE ON THE DANGERS AND THREAT OF COMMUNISM 
IN THE AREA AND WERE TOLD THAT ELECTIONS WOULD SOON TAKE PLACE 
IN NAMIBIA; THE ELECTIONS WOULD BE FOUGHT BETWEEN THE INTERNAL 
PARTIES AND SWAPO.  THE TWO MEN FELT THAT THEIR ORGANIZATION 
WAS BEING POLITICIZED AND THEY WERE BEING PREPARED TO TAKE 
PART IN AN ANTI-SWAPO CAMPAIGN IN NAMIBIA.  AT THE SAME TIME, THE 
ANGOLANS WERE TOLD THAT THE SADF WOULD LEAVE SOUTHWEST AFRICA 
AND RETURN TO SOUTH AFRICA; THE ANGOLANS IN THE SADF WOULD BE 
ALLOWED TO RETURN TO SOUTH AFRICA WITH THEM, BUT NOTHING WAS 
SAID ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN AFTER THAT. 
 
9.  SALES AND NHUKWETE THEN REPORTEDLY DECIDED THAT THEY HAD A DIM 
FUTURE IN THE SADF AND DECIDED TO SEEK REFUGE IN BOTSWANA.  THEY 
OBTAINED TRAVEL DECUMENTS, TOOK OFFICIAL LEAVE FROM THE SADF, AND 
TRAVELLED THROUGH THE CAPRIVI TO KATIMA MULILO, CROSSED INTO 
ZAMBIA, AND THENCEOINTO BOTSWANA AT KAZUNGULA.  ACCORDING TO THE 
MEN, THEIR LEAVE EXPIRED ON JANUARY 7. 
 
MAINO 

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