S. Africa is proud of its Angola raid
After getting only secondhand reports about the South African Defense Force's raid into Angola for several days, South Africans have now been given glowing details of how well their fighting men did, complete with pictures of burning Soviet tanks and accounts of Soviet military advisers fleeing for their lives.Skip to next paragraph
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The first thing most whites here will have gained from television, radio, and newspaper reports is the comforting reassurance that their Army and Air Force can overwhelm any other force anywhere near the country's borders.
Second, the Soviet connection has been emphasized, giving the impression that it is not so much a black nationalist movement that is opposing South Africa and "causing trouble" in Namibia, but that communism and the Soviets themselves are really at the root of the matter.
Third, although the Defense Force acknowledges that it clashed heavily with Angolan government forces, the government continues to emphasize that it went out of its way to avoid fighting the Angolans, even to the extent of dropping pamphlets on target areas warning local people to get out of the way before the South African forces attacked South-West African People's Organization (SWAPO) bases.
The claim that South Africa has no grudge against Angolans was effectively emphasized on South African national television by foot-age showing members of the armed forces playing a formal soccer fotball match against a village team in the town of Xangongo in southern Angola.
The Army team was dressed in battle dress, but the local team turned out in club colors, complete with long white socks and black boots. Although the South Africans came out top in the armed conflicts during the Angolan raid, there is some confusion about the result of the soccer match. One report says the South Africans won two goals to nil. Another says the South Africans lost.
The South African Defense Force claims that about 450 members of SWAPO and the Angolan government forces were killed in the raid, and 10 members of the South African force, including two members of the Namibian territorial force.
No Cuban soldiers -- although there are many thousands of them in Angola -- were killed, nor were any Soviets.
But a group of Soviets, said to number 20 men and seven women, are reported to have fled from the town of Xangongo (formerly called Villa de Rocades when Angola was a Portuguese colony) just before the South Africans arrived.
The Soviet left behind a "huge" selection of documents that South African intelligence officers say indicate the growing involvement of the Soviet Union in southern Angola.
The Soviets apparently lived in squalid circumstances. Correspondents who were flown to Xangongo say their beds were covered with dirty mosquito nets, and that there was half-eaten food and empty wine, beer, and vodka bottles on the table of their living room.
Although Angolan government sources claimed that fierce fighting was continuing in southern Angola Sunday, South African government spokesmen said the South African forces were just "mopping up" and that the forces were returning to their bases in Namibia.
A considerable quantity of Soviet-made equipment, including a complete 70 -vehicle SWAPO supply convoy, is being brought back.