On the night of the Feb. 13, the UNITA guerrillas shattered the usual quiet of Huambo, Angola's second-largest city, with satchels of hand grenades thrown into the lobby of a hotel, the city's railroad station and military police compound as part of their psychological warfare against the Marxis government.
The terrorist acts, besides having the stated purpose of upsetting the city's population, were also intended to frighten the visiting Zambian soccer team. The soccer team was drinking in the bar of the Almirante Hotel and ran from the Hotel into Huambo's shantytown slum area, where they hid until daylight, according to MajMateus Katalayo, a UNITA guerrilla.
The attack on the soccer team was also a retailation for the expulsion of UNITA officials from that country by Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda last December, Katalayo said. Kaunda had recognized the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola's government of Angola.
Several days after the attack, one of UNITA's underground workers smuggled copies of the government's newspaper, Jornal de Angola, to one of the guerrillas' bases near Huambo, where I was given a copy.
Buried inside a sports story on the 11th page of the 12-page Feb, 15th edition was a two-paragraph reference to the incident:
"While everything was well on the way to total success, the despair and cowardice of a few leftover reactionaries managed for a brief time to thrust itself on the visitors, setting off explosive devices outside the seat of the railroad and the Almirante Hotel. It is notable that the Zambians were staying at the Ruacana Hotel, a fact that shows the isolation in which this group of bandits was acting. The explosions caused no casualties, and the physical damage was little more than the cost of broken windows.
"These explosions, which took place about 10:30 p.m., are due - as the new Provincial Commissar of Huambo. Comrade Pedale, pointed out at the reception he offered for the Zambians at the Palace of the People - to the despair of the lackeys of UNITA, which Zambia expelled from its territory. These remnants of the rebel group wanted to show displeasure and also make it appear that rumors circulating in the reactionary press have some basis . . ."