South African defense chief Constand Viljoen said South African forces were returning to their bases in Namibia (South-West Africa) after completing their "limited task" in Angola during which "many hundreds" of black insurgents had been killed.
The Angolan ambassador to Belgium, Fernando Jose van Dunen, said yesterday that "several hundred" people had died in the incursion, during which South African ground troops had gone as far as Xangongo, 45 miles inside Angolan territory from the Namibian border. The Angolan government said yesterday that Xangongo had been destroyed and that there was heavy bombing around the town of Ngiva, 35 miles from the border.
Despite South Africa's announcement that it is withdrawing, Angola claimed there were fresh clashes today, Reuter reported.
Angola also accused South African invasion forces of trying to create a no man's land along its southern border with Namibia to make it easier for South African-backed Angolan guerrillas to attack Angola from Namibia.
The Angolan news agency Angop, monitored in Lisbon, reported clashes near Ngiva.
Angop also reported a government statement calling on members of the Organization for African Unity to give aid to "expel the attacking army of South Africa's racist regime from Angolan territory."
Angola also called on the Security Council to demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of South African troops from its territory.
Presenting his government's case to the United Nations, Elisio de Figueiredo, the Angolan delegate, accused the South African troops of atrocities, including the rape of young girls and strafing of a funeral party.
Hamilton Whyte, the British delegate, speaking immediately afterward, said the council "should in these grave circumstances strive to agree urgently on an appeal in simple and direct terms to the South African government to terminate their military action in Angola and to withdraw their troops immediately."
Despite intensive private consultations, council members were reported to disagree on a text twinning a call for withdrawal with the condemnation of the South African incursion sought by African delegates but opposed by the United States.
U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim denounced South Africa's military incursion into Angola as a "grave violation" and pledged to do his utmost to ensure the troops were withdrawn immediately.
In Havana, Cuba said its troops, which have been in Angola since 1975, would go into action if South African forces approached Cuban positions there .
In a letter to Waldheim, South African Foreign Minister Roloef F. Botha invited the Security Council members to Namibia to see for themselves the situation there.
Viljoen today repeated the assertion of Prime Minister Pieter Botha Wednesday that the South African operation was "nowhere near" the scale claimed by the Angolans.
The military official said the South Africans had not used any tanks as claimed by the Angolans and that "the reference to 45,000 troops is totally laughable because it was not a fraction of this." He charged that the Angolan troops with whom they clashed had "with premeditation awaited the South African troops and attacked them."
In the Namibian capital of Windhoek, the South African administrator, Gen. Daniel Hough, announced steps to transfer executive powers he has wielded up to now to the Minister's Council. The measure means that the council, controlled by the Pretoria-backed Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, now has increased administrative powers in the day-to-day running of the territory.
The steps are part of a two-year-old process to give Namibia, ruled as a virtual province of South Africa for 60 years, increasing control over its internal affairs. Through Hough, South Africa retains control over security and constitutional matters as well as foreign affairs.
The Minister's Council, a sort of proto-cabinet, will be enlarged from 12 to 15 members and the legislative National Assembly will be increased from 50 to 72 members.