Savimbi remains an important figure in Angolan and Cold War history, viewed by some as a "freedom fighter." The Angolan government and others saw him as a dangerous war-monger and terrorist who perpetuated a lengthy armed conflict, with long-lasting, detrimental effects on Angolan society.
Under military pressure from UNITA, the Angolan government negotiated a cease-fire with Savimbi, and Savimbi ran for president in the national elections of 1992. Though foreign monitors claimed the elections to be fair, he questioned the legitimacy of the election when he lost, and resumed fighting, mostly with foreign funds, one of his largest sources of money being the De Beers Corporation, which bought between $500 and $800 million worth of illegally mined diamonds from the UNITA controlled diamond mines in 1992-1993. In 1994, UNITA signed a new peace accord, but Savimbi declined the vice-presidency that was offered to him and again renewed fighting in 1998.
After surviving more than a dozen assassination attempts, isolated by his allies Savimbi was killed on February 22, 2002, in a battle with Angolan government troops--and, reportedly, South African mercenaries and Israeli special forces along riverbanks in the province of Moxico, his birthplace. In the firefight, Savimbi sustained 15 machine gun bullets to his head, upper body and legs.MORE INFORMATION
Jonas Savimbi by Eric Margolis a foreign correspondent and defense analyst/columnist