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» 09.02.2010 - Angola elects speaker
» 03.02.2010 - Angola’s new cabinet is sworn-in
» 21.01.2010 - Angola parliament stamps new constitution
» 14.01.2010 - Angola to endorse new constitution
» 11.03.2009 - UNITA accuses president of delaying polls for selfish benefit
» 23.02.2009 - Reform electoral commission – HRW
» 02.10.2008 - Angola unveils new cabinet
» 17.09.2008 - MPLA wins Angola's elections

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Angola collects issued arms from soldier's home

afrol News, 12 August - Angolan government has mounted a massive campaign to disarm military personnel of weapons from their homes to ensure stability ahead of 5 September elections, state media reported.

The campaign to remove weapons follows President Jose Eduardo dos Santos announcement last week appealing to all political parties to maintain peace and stability at the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Earlier this year, Angolan authorities also stepped up a campaign for voluntary handing in of weapons by civilians.

Angop news agency reported that General Francisco Furtado, chief of staff of Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), said he wanted military to keep a closer eye on weapons storage to ensure they are not used during a run to elections.

"It's not that the FAA is disarming its soldiers, but we need to have greater control of weaponry and guarantee greater security for the maintenance of peace and stability in the country," he said.

The general added that under Angolan law, armed forces and police have rights to weapons, but said all weapons belonging to the army should be stored at barracks, where they will not be misused.

A total of 5,198 candidates will contest 220 parliamentary seats, with more than eight million Angolans registered to vote.

Angola's last national election in 1992 was aborted when government distributed machine guns to civilians in the face of renewed fighting with National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), an ex-rebel movement that is now the main opposition. Conflict between government and rebels of UNITA cost more than a million lives and destroyed country's infrastructure.

Peace was restored only after government troops killed UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in 2002. UNITA which remains main opposition party, according to many political observers, is unlikely to unseat dos Santos's ruling MPLA, which currently holds 129 seats out of 220. UNITA has 70 seats.

Parliamentary poll will be followed by a presidential election in 2009, which Mr Dos Santos is expected to run.

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