August 1998 After months of growing tension, fighting breaks out in Angola's northern Malanje province between the government, led by President Eduardo Dos Santos a former leader of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebel forces, led by Jonas Savimbi. This fighting between the MPLA and UNITA has a legacy in Angola as the two groups have been engaged in fluctuating violence since Angola's independence from Portugal in 1975.
September 1998 Angola's ruling party, MPLA, expels all 70 UNITA rebel representatives from Parliament. The government claims the rebel movement failed to disarm as part of the Lusaka Peace Accord of 1994. This accord set an Aug. 31, 1998, deadline by which UNITA must comply with the peace commitments or be expelled from Parliament and government.
December 1998 The British human rights group, Global Witness, publishes a report: "A Rough Trade: The Role of Companies and Governments in the Angolan Conflict." The report uncovers the role of diamonds in funding the continuing civil war. According to the report, diamonds have been UNITA's major source of revenue during the 1990's. The funding allows rebel forces to re-arm and maintain supplies. The report claims that UNITA has gained an estimated US$3.7 billion between 1992 and 1998.
February 1999 The New York Times reports, "The Security Council voted today to end the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Angola, after the renewed outbreak of civil war in December. But the Council left the door open for a new peacekeeping mission if the fighting dies down and said the United Nations would continue its relief work there. In a report to the Council last month, Secretary General Kofi Annan said ''intensifying hostilities'' between the forces of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Jonas Savimbi's Unita rebel movement had ended any hope of carrying out the 1994 Lusaka peace agreement. Mr. Annan recommended ending the peacekeeping operation, which has cost $4 billion."
June 1999 The National Assembly postpones presidential elections indefinitely due to the renewed violence between MPLA and UNITA forces.
April 2000 The BBC reports, "The UN Security Council has approved a resolution that could lead to sanctions being imposed on countries trading with the Angolan rebel movement, Unita, in violation of an international embargo. A UN report published last month said Unita had imported weapons from Bulgaria and exported diamonds through Belgium with the help of other African countries especially Burkina Faso and Togo."
October 2000 According to a U.N. panel report, international diamond dealers are still buying gems from UNITA despite recent U.N. efforts to crack down on violators. The report states, "it is clear that international dealers are still prepared to flout sanctions and buy diamonds from UNITA, and that it is very difficult, even for those countries with the will, to prevent diamond smuggling given that the system of controls on the sales of diamonds is not yet in place."
August 2001 About 10,000 people march through Luanda in a government-organized protest of a recent UNITA ambush of a refugee train. In the ambush, more than 250 people were killed when the train, carrying more than 500 refugees fleeing fighting between the government and UNITA rebel forces, was hit with two mines, derailed, burst into flames and was sprayed with gunfire by UNITA forces. The Angola government urges the U.N. to prosecute rebel leader Jonas Savimbi for war crimes. Human rights groups say both sides regularly commit atrocities.
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos announces that he will not run for office in the next presidential election.
February 2002 Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA for more than 30 years, is killed during fighting with government troops in a remote town in Moxico province.
April 2002 Angola's army signs a ceasefire agreement with the UNITA rebel movement. The agreement marks the culmination of talks that began after government forces killed UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in February. This ends the 27-year civil war.
June 2002 Some 10,000 Angolan refugees return home after the government and UNITA rebels sign a ceasefire agreement.
December 2002 U.N. Security Council lifts sanctions on UNITA.
December 2003 Eduardo dos Santos is elected as president of the MPLA party. He ran unopposed.
June 2003 Isaias Samakuva assumes the top leadership position within UNITA, winning 78% of the election vote. Samakuva was formerly UNITA's representative in London and Paris.
January 2004 Human Rights Watch releases a report that says more than US$4 billion in oil revenue disappeared from Angolan state coffers between 1997 and 2002. The report states that the missing funds are roughly equal to what was spent in the same period on social programs US $4.27 billion. The Associated Press reports, "President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' government responds by denying any wrongdoing, claiming the missing funds could be explained by oil price fluctuations."
August 2004 Election commission meetings are held and UNITA and MPLA cannot agree on a projected election date. UNITA representatives walk out of the meeting.
2006 The Economics of Peace and Security Joural reports, "The decade of 1992-2002 was marked by an intensive use of government budgetary resources for military purposes, absorbing more than 40 percent of total expenditures."
January to November 2006 Angola's Social Communication Minister Manuel Rabelais announces a new press bill will license radio and television broadcasting through public tender. The press bill will also create new mechanisms for media self-regulation, a competent authority to license the media, a prohibition on monopolization, and a set of punishments that emphasize pecuniary penalties over terms of imprisonment. Rabelais adds that the government's previous monopoly of broadcasting is at an end. In November, Human Rights Watch releases a report called, "Still Not Fully Protected: Rights to Freedom of Expression and Information under Angola's New Press Law." The report critically examines the new press law, and concludes that although it is an improvement from the previous law, it still retains provisions that undermine press freedom, such as criminal defamation.
International Press Institute reports, "On 8 July, Augusto Sebastiao Domingos Pedro, the correspondent of the state-owned Jornal de Angola was beaten to death after an argument at a petrol station in Luanda. Eight days later, on 16 July, an unidentified intruder shot Benicio Wedeinge, director of the public television station TPA, in his home in Onjiva, the capital of Cunene province. The motive for his killing remains unclear. Media commentators in the country said the murders of the journalists were an attempt to pressure the media."
National police arrest some 110 protestors on their way to the French embassy in Luanda to protest corruption by the Angolan government. It is reported that the protestors were distributing pamphlets that accused the government of siphoning off billions of dollars that should have been used to the benefit the Angolan people. Twenty-seven of the protesters are sentenced to a month in prison for "unauthorized public manifestation."
December 2006 Angola joins Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The BBC reports, "Angola's first elections since the end of the country's 27-year civil war look set to be postponed by at least a year. Presidential and parliamentary polls had been due in 2007, but a cross-party advisory committee said more time was needed to prepare. The legislative polls will take place in mid-2008 and the presidential polls in 2009, a committee spokesman said."
October 2007 Reporters Without Boarders reports, "Reporters Without Borders today expressed shock as a criminal court in Luanda jailed journalist and editor Felisberto da Grâça Campos for eight months and fined him 250,000 dollars for allegedly insulting a former minister. The editor of the weekly, Semanario Angolense, was accused on 3 October of "defamation, insults, denigration and damaging his rights as a prominent person" of former minister and current legal auditor, Paulo Tchipilica." Campos later appealed his case and received a provisional release from prison.
June 2008 The International Foundation for Electoral Systems reports, "Angolan president Jose Eduardo DOS SANTOS gave the official go-ahead for parliamentary elections to be held this year in September. These elections will be the first parliamentary elections in Angola since 1992, the outcome of which led to a resumption of the civil war that finally ended in 2002, after plaguing the country for 27 years."