Savimbi, Jonas

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Savimbi, Jonas

Jonas Savimbi (sävĬm´bē), 1934–2002, Angolan rebel leader. He was a founding member of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in 1966. Savimbi was included in the interim independent government with Neto and Roberto in 1974 but returned to armed opposition when Neto's Marxist government was established. Aided by the United States and South Africa, he led a guerrilla war over much of Angola (1975–91) until a cease-fire was achieved. Running for president, Savimbi refused to accept his defeat in the 1992 elections, and UNITA resumed armed conflict with government forces, initially with much success. After reverses in 1994, however, UNITA signed a new peace accord; under it Savimbi was offered one of two Angolan vice presidencies, which he declined. With renewed warfare in 1998, the government said it would no longer recognize the 1994 agreement or deal with Savimbi, instead recognizing a splinter group, UNITA Renovada. Savimbi was killed in an ambush in 2002.

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