The Angolan Defense Ministry yesterday accused South Africa of launching a new military attack against southern Angola that coincided with the brief visit in Luanda of a five-nation Western negotiating team seeking to secure independence for Namibia (Southwest Africa).

Angola's official news agency Angop quoted a Defense Ministry communique as saying Pretoria's forces were trying to capture the town of Cahama, 125 miles north of the border of South African-controlled Namibia.

The communique said there had been heavy fighting in the Cahama area throughout yesterday, adding that the Angolan Army was holding its defensive positions. Previously South Africa has defended its incursions into Angola as being in pursuit of black nationalist guerrillas from Namibia.

South Africa staged a week-long incursion into Angola in September.

The Angolan Defense Ministry said South African helicopter-borne troops landed within 1.2 miles of Cahama yesterday morning after the South African Air Force made bombing raids against Angolan positions in the area.

Angop said the Angolans brought down two South African Impala fighters and a Puma helicopter. There was no immediate response to the charges from South Africa.

The Western negotiating team arrived last night in South Africa from Luanda, Angola, where the revised plan for independence in Namibia was well-received both by Angolan officials and by the Namibian guerrillas of the Southwest Africa People's Organization (SWAPO).

Angop reported that Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said the plan opened the door to a "just solution."

"It has not been easy to convince the parties involved in the Namibian conflict -- especially South Africa and SWAPO -- to reach the understanding necessary to sign a cease-fire and begin the process of transition to independence," Dos Santos said.