Former Angolan president Jose dos Santos dies aged 79


Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled the country for 38 years, has died today in Spain.

Dos Santos has died in a Barcelona clinic where he was hospitalised, more than five years after he left power in May 2017.

He became president of Angola in 1979 following the death of the first president, António Agostinho Neto.

At the time Dos Santos became president, there was civil war in Angola between the Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) which he led and Unita.

It is believed that  500,000 people died in the conflict which lasted 27 years. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the two sides in Angola signed a peace deal and Dos Santos defeated Unita’s Jonas Savimbi in elections held in 1992.

The loss saw Unita taking up arms once but in 2002 Savimbi was killed by soldiers and another peace deal was signed.

Dos Santos ruled Angola until 2017, when he stepped down and chose his former Defence Minister, João Lourenço, as his successor. He also resigned as leader of the MPLA a year later.

He then went into exile in Barcelona, Spain and last visited Angola in September 2021, where he stayed until early 2022.

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