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Calueque Dam.jpg

Calueque is a village next to a dam and pumping station on the Cunene River in the Cunene Province of southern Angola. The project is linked to Ruacana, 20 km away inside Namibia, where an underground hydro-electric power station was built. A 300 km pipeline and canal extends across the border into Namibia, supplying towns as far as Oshakati in Ovamboland with water. The dam was completed in 1976, however due to the onset of the Angolan civil war following independence, the full master plan for the scheme was not realised by the South African and Portuguese governments.[1]

Angolan Civil War


The area was of considerable strategic importance, providing the pretext in 1975 for the initial South African military intervention in the Angolan Civil War when staff at the facility were threatened by guerillas.[2] Full intervention through Operation Savannah followed shortly afterwards.

Calueque was repeatedly targeted, unsuccessfully, by SWAPO and Cuban forces throughout the conflict. However bloody fighting in the area in 1988 after the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale proved to be a turning point in the war when Cuban and Angolan forces launched a massive ground offensive against Calueque, which was checked with considerable Cuban and MPLA casualties. An airstrike on June 27, 1988 by Cuban Mig 23 fighters was nevertheless highly successful. The first wave of aircraft bombed the bridge and sluice gates, killing a soldier in the process. Another wave bombed the pump and generator, while a third destroyed the pipeline to Ovamboland. Significantly, one of the last bombs dropped scored a direct hit on the position of 11 South African soldiers nearby who had exited their Buffel troop carrier to watch the events unfold. The dam and pipelines were considerably damaged, rendering the scheme inoperable.[3]

The Calueque Dam and bridge has not been repaired since it was damaged in 1988.[4]


  1. ^ Département de l'administration et des finances (Portugal) (January 21, 1969). "Agreement between the government of the Republic of South Africa and the government of Portugal in regard to the first phase of development of the water resources of the Cunene river basin". Press release.  
  2. ^ Hamann, Hilton (2001). Days of the Generals. New Holland Publishers. pp. p21. Retrieved 2007-10-15.  
  3. ^ George, Edward (2005). The Cuban Intervention in Angola, 1965-1991: From Che Guevara to Cuito Cuanavale. Routledge. pp. 245. ISBN 0415350158.  
  4. ^ "No plans to repair Calueque wall". The Namibian. 2007-07-16.  

External links

Coordinates: 17°16′10″S 14°32′52″E / 17.26944°S 14.54778°E / -17.26944; 14.54778



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