Angolan rebel leader, was killed by government soldiers in February. Savimbi won enormous loyalty in his fight for independence from Portugal, which was achieved in 1975. Hungry for power, however, he immersed the country in a brutal, protracted war against the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). He dispensed with opponents as well as his own officers who challenged him, and hundreds of thousands of Angolan peasants died in the war, which was largely viewed as pointless. During the cold war, the United States and South Africa used Savimbi and his party, the CIA-funded National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), as pawns to oust the Marxist MPLA. Six weeks after Savimbi's death, rebel leaders signed a cease-fire deal with the government, signalling the end of almost 30 years of civil war.