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Operation Daisy: The Aftermath

Operation Daisy “The effect of Operations Protea and Daisy made itself felt quite clearly during 1982: the number of terrorist incidents dropped from 1,052 in 1981 to 756, while SWAPO losses remained very high at 1,286 — compared to the 1,494 in 1981, which included the casualties inflicted during Protea and Daisy. The reduced SWAPO presence in Owambo which resulted, and the obvious decline in its ability to operate, also had its effect on recruiting, and in 1982 proved a very poor year in this regard. Not surprisingly, SWAPO reverted to abducting scholars, but even this proved to be rather more difficult than in the past — if only because it was far from easy to move a group of unwilling ‘recruits’ over many kilometres of territory dominated by the security forces. Another problem which now beset SWAPO, was a grave shortage of leaders. Far too many had been lost in recent years for normal progression to replace them. The quality of junior and middle-level leadership thus began to fall off alarmingly, with further disruptive effects on the organisation and its operations.

The South-West African authorities and the security forces had, meanwhile, taken steps to exploit the declining intensity of conflict to improve government services and their image generally. The security forces also stepped up their civic action work to further improve the lot and the attitude of the local population. These efforts paid dividends in the increasing difficulty faced by SWAPO in moving among the population and exercising its political influence. Increasingly, terrorists were reported to the security forces and quickly tracked down and either killed or captured. The growing efficiency of the Police Counter-Insurgency Unit (Koevoet) was a major factor in this. Approaching terrorism as essentially a police problem to be addressed by largely police methods, Koevoet’s patrols built up an extremely efficient network of informants and informers, which gave them an outstanding intelligence picture of the area.

Coupled with innovative tactics, it made these Police patrols a major threat to the terrorists, severely hampering their efforts in Owambo.” **

** From “South African Armed Forces”, by Helmoed-Römer Heitman, p. 164-165


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