Dr Jonas Malheiro Savimbi had survived several assassination attempts, but on 22 February 2002 he was caught in machine-gun fire and suffered at least 15 bullet wounds to his entire body. They were fatal. The battle between his União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA - National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) forces and Angolan government troops (supported by mercenaries form South Africa and Israeli special forces advisors) took place in Moxico, the province of his birth.
International groups refused to believe reports of his death until photographs were aired on Angolan state television. Savimbi's named successor, Antonio Demba, was also wounded in the firefight, and died three days later. Six weeks after Savimbi's death, UNITA and the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA - Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) signed a ceasefire.