Ver Angola


Families and victims of repression in 1977 in Angola create Platform 27 May

Three associations of survivors and orphans of the 1977 repression in Angola created Platform 27 May to demand a "real investigation" and an "effective reparation" with the homage to the victims, was this Tuesday announced.


In a press release sent to the Lusa agency, the May 27 survivors group, the M27 (association of orphans) and the May 27 association, which brings together survivors and relatives of the victims, consider that only with their demands fulfilled will it be possible "a true national reconciliation" and the return of "lost dignity".

On May 27, 1977, an alleged coup attempt, in an operation apparently led by Nito Alves - then former Minister of Interior since independence (11 November 1975) until October 1976 - was violently repressed by the regime of Agostinho Neto.

According to Amnesty International, around 30,000 people were reportedly killed, most of them without any connection to Nito Alves.

Among the victims of the leadership of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) were, besides Nito Alves, other internal opponents, such as Sita Valles and her husband José Van Dunem, brother of the current Portuguese Minister of Justice, Francisca Van Dunem.

In this document, the associations reiterate that the events of 27 May, which they consider a "holocaust" and "one of the greatest tragedies in Africa", "cannot be put on the same level as other confrontations registered after independence", resuming the criticism of the proposal for national reconciliation made by the President, João Lourenço.

In September last year, the survivors, relatives and orphans of 27 May had already criticised the proposal to set up a Commission for Reconciliation, accusing João Lourenço of not distinguishing between the victims of the civil war and executions within the ruling party.

At the time, they called for the bodies of the victims to be handed over to their families and challenged Lawrence's silence on the matter.

The internal persecutions within the MPLA against the so-called "fractionist" current will have caused the death of thousands of party cadres and, for the survivors and children of the victims, the current executive must acknowledge this episode of history and apologise for what happened.

The words "reconciliation and forgiveness acquire different outlines for the victims and survivors: reconciliation presupposes the admission that crimes have been committed, the issuing of death certificates, and the location and return of the bodies," that is, "a real process of recognition," with "concrete actions in search of the truth," they then said.

According to the survivors and relatives of the victims, 27 May "should be treated separately from other conflicts, which also generate victims", based on "the African Union's guidelines on transactional justice", which, they believe, are not complied with by the Commission for Reconciliation.

In April, in a note from the President's Civil House, João Lourenço announced the creation of a commission to draw up a general plan to honour the victims of the conflicts in the country, including "the attempted coup of '27 May' [1977] or possible crimes committed by political movements or parties in the framework of armed conflict".

The press release announcing the creation of the Platform is dated September 2019 and the source of the 27 de Maio Association explained to Lusa that it has only just been released because not all associations signed the document at the same time.

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