In July 1980, radio intercepts showed that SWAPO's North-Western Front headquarters, previously north of the Xangongo-Mongua road, had moved south in the vicinity of Cuamato, probably with a view to infiltrating between beacons 7 and 14. Unlike the Far Eastern Front, this area was teeming with FAPLA, with known deployments at Namacunde, Ongiva, Mongua, Xangongo, Cuamato, Naulila and Calueque, and there was no way of telling whether tracks had been made by SWAPO or FAPLA patrols.
On 28 July 1980, a group of 30 FAPLA troops was spotted about 400 m from a temporary base 12 km south-west of Cuamato. The platoon opened fire with 60-mm mortars and the group withdrew, but a follow-up operation had to be aborted when the platoon was ordered by tactical headquarters to stay at least three kilometres from Cuamato.
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