Battle of Cassinga - Aftermath


According to an Angolan government white paper the official toll of the Cassinga raid was a total of 624 dead and 611 injured civilians as well as combatants. Among the dead were 167 women and 298 teenagers and children. Since many of the combatants were female or teenagers and many combatants did not wear uniforms, the exact number of civilians among the dead could not be established. A secret report to the SWAPO Central Committee listed 582 dead and 400 wounded.

In purely military terms, the South Africans declared the attack on Cassinga to be a great success, even though disaster was so closely averted by the intervention of the SAAF. Despite inflicting heavy casualties, the SADF did not kill or capture Dimo Amaambo or any other senior leaders. The SADF casualties were low for such an attack, an important factor in South Africa where the public was intolerant of high casualty rates: Three soldiers were killed, was one missing in action presumed dead, and eleven were wounded.

According to General Constand Viljoen, Cassinga set the strategy for the SADF for the next ten years, i.e. that of launching pre-emptive strikes at SWAPO inside Angola, even though subsequent actions would be armoured rather than air assaults.

SWAPO launched a retaliatory bombardment from Zambia of Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Strip on 23 August 1978, during which 10 soldiers were killed and 10 injured as a result of a direct hit on their barracks by an 82 mm mortar bomb. Sixteen guerrillas were killed in a follow-up operation 250 km into Zambia.

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