WHAT TSIKATA DID IN ANGOLA
We got to know Kojo Tsikata towards the end of 1964. I believe it was after a visit by the President of the MPLA, Dr Agostino Neto, to Ghana where he met president Nkrumah . He was accompanied by the Commander of the MPLA , Hoji Ya Henda, and they met Captain Kojo Tsikata who offered to collaborate, to fight on the side of the MPLA at Cabinda. This offer of collaboration was accepted by the leadership committee of the MPLA, who decided he could be employed as an adviser to Commander Hoji Ya Henda.
So it was that Kojo Tsikata arrived in Congo- Brazzaville , adopted the Angolan name “Silva” and began his collaboration with Henda, the then Commander of the 2nd Region (Cabinda)
The Head of the military section of the MPLA leadership committee was Commander Iko Carriera. The freedom struggle was progressing in Cabinda under the command of Hoji Ya Henda, and Commander Pedale was Commander of the Zone and Dibala was the political Commissioner.
The “freedom fighters” had made advances in Northern Angola since 4 February 1961 and we faced difficulties caused by the Congo-Kinshasa government and by Holden Roberto’s UPA group. This was why the armed struggle was stepped up in Cabinda after Congo-Brazzaville, in order to create the right conditions for making advances in Northern Angola ( the 1st Region) in spite of the aforementioned difficulties.
Thus Silva (Kojo Tsikata) began to work alongside Henda, organising the Cabinda front. Meanwhile something had happened which greatly encouraged the Cabinda Front. Che Guevara came to visit the MPLA Management which asked him to send some Cuban instructors to improve the technique of our fighters in the bush. This was how we came to obtain six Cuban trainers who found Captain Silva (Tsikata) already there, and together with Henda, we were able to organise a working collaboration, from which Henda profited greatly.
Then we began to organise operation Macaco, which was to be an attack on a Portuguese barracks with mortars and 75mm cannons. There are photographs of the March and preparations for this operation which took place on 31 December 1965-we planned to carry out the operation on 1 January 1966 because it was a public holiday.
Silva continued his work with Henda right up until his departure to the East of the country, towards the 3rd Region. It was then I think Silva returned to Ghana. In the meantime, with the Cuban instructors and perhaps with Tsikata, we began to organise Special Units which were to head across Zaire, to Northern Angola. Squadron Cienfuegos succeeded and part of Squadron Kami. Silva had had a relationship with one of the women who left with Squadron Kami and who had been assassinated by UPA people. She was Irene Cohen, one of the five female heroines, to whom a monument is dedicated here in Luanda.
This was a very difficult period for us and that is why Captain Tsikata (Silva) is always remembered by MPLA guerrillas who are still living, who will never forget the Ghanaian who was at our side.
BY LUCIO LARA
MEMBER OF THE POLITICAL BUREAU OF MPLA