The headquarters of the Armed Forces, in Luanda, was the place chosen to host the ceremony, which brought together the family members of Alves Bernardo Batista "Nito Alves", Jacob Caetano João "Monstro Imortal", Arsénio Lourenço Mesquita "Sihanouk" and Ilídio Ramalhete to several members of the Angolan executive, including two ministers also united by blood ties to the victims.
On top of the four urns, covered with the Angolan flag and flanked by wreaths of flowers, the motto "Abraçar e Perdoar" reinforced what was the dominant tone in the speeches of this solemn act.
In front of each one, black and white portraits recalled the faces of the four young men who lost their lives during the bloody repression that followed an alleged coup d'état attempt led by Nito Alves, top MPLA leader and Minister of Administration. Internal of the first President of Angola, António Agostinho Neto, on May 27, 1977, which ended with thousands of deaths.
Brothers, sons, uncles and nephews of the victims could not contain their tears and emotion, with some of the family members being supported, while others embraced the urns in a moment of suffering, but also of appeasement for those who can finally say goodbye to their loved ones, 45 years later.
"Finally, my father", he heard himself, between cries and cries of anguish.
Augusto Caetano João, brother of "Monstro Imortal" (who was Nito Alves' cousin) recalled the day his brother, who would be 81 today, disappeared, on the eve of his birthday, a moment he relived 45 years later.
He recognized the efforts of the executive and underlined the call for the union of the "Angolan family", thanking the Minister of Justice for the courage to "unravel the mystery".
He even admitted that before there was fear of speaking, so when "Immortal Monster" disappeared they didn't look for explanations. "We had nowhere to complain, nobody was going to listen to us," he said resignedly.
For the nephew of Nito Alves, who received the same name as his uncle, this was also the end of the humiliation that the families have lived through in the last 45 years, at a time when the feeling of mourning and pain, but also gratitude, dominated.
The families thanked the Government, namely President João Lourenço who, last year, started the process and apologized, recognizing the "great evil" of the summary executions that took place in that period, but the circumstances in which the deaths took place did not were revealed, and there are matters that continue to be classified.
"Initially, we had no information on how our father, our uncle ended up. It was a taboo, but with the help of the executive, we got credible information, which to a certain extent is still confidential", declared Nito Alves, stating that the family accepted the explanations information about how he died.
He also explained that the fact that it is confidential information is linked to "spiritual and cultural" assumptions and considered that it was time to "forget the past".
The families converged with the Government in the call for reconciliation, with the family of Nito Alves declaring that "all those who were directly or indirectly involved in the death of their relative are forgiven".
"Nito taught us that hatred and slander are elements against reconciliation", said his nephew, welcoming the fact that three of the soldiers were posthumously decorated as senior army officers: "This presupposes that the idea that there was a faction is not very real, there was simply dissatisfaction".
On the other hand, it could imply a rewriting of Angola's recent history, with greater openness to the academic study of these events, he admitted, adding that he hopes that his uncle's contribution to the country will be recognized.
As for a possible rehabilitation by the MPLA, a party in power in Angola since 1975 and which was divided at the time between the "Nitista" (Nito Aves) and "Netista" (Agostinho Neto) factions, it may "not be easy" , but it is also a possibility that cannot be ruled out.
In these 45 years, he reported, Nito Alves' family lived in fear of reprisals and some took refuge in Europe. As for those who stayed in Angola, as is your case, they suffered "directly or indirectly, a mental torment", in view of the conversations that took place in all public circles.
Moved, Ginga Afonso, united by kinship to "Sihanuk", Nito Alves, and "Monstro Immortal", also thanked the act that will allow families to take their loved ones to their last address, but also preferred not to reveal the causes of the deaths.
"We are here to hug and forgive each other", she said, stressing that this is a chapter that closes for the family and a page that opens in the history of Angola.
The ceremony, in addition to family and friends, was also attended by the Minister of the Interior, Eugénio Laborinho, of Justice, Francisco Queirós, and of Telecommunications, Manuel Homem, representatives of churches and parties with parliamentary seats and members of civil society and the technical group. who has been carrying out the work of identifying the bones and determining the compatibility of the genetic material.
According to Eugénio Laborinho, so far, 10 complete and three partial genetic profiles have been determined, which made it possible to find existing genetic compatibilities between the victims and their families.
The technical laboratory has already received bones from 20 individuals and collected genetic material from 129 families.
The Minister of Justice and coordinator of the Reconciliation Commission in Memory of Victims of Political Conflicts (Civicop), Francisco Queirós, highlighted the significance of this moment for national reconciliation and forgiveness.
"With this act it is not intended to erase from history the sad events of the 27th of May, but to fulfill a moment of justice for the families and pay tribute to those who fell in this political conflict", he underlined.
He also said that this is not the time to ask which side they were on or what ideas those who died believed in, nor the time to ask the reasons why each one killed or died: "It's time to forget the sorrows and hold hands", urged.
He appealed, on the other hand, for the patience and understanding of families who have not yet received the bones, justifying any delays with “scientific rigor”, and said that families residing in Portugal interested in continuing the process will have forensic teams available.
This was the second tribute to the victims of the conflicts promoted by the Government, after the delivery of the remains of two former UNITA leaders, Salupeto Pena and Alicerces Mango, who died in 1992.
The funeral obsequies of the four young people, three of whom are soldiers and members of the MPLA's First Military Region, will take place next Monday, with military honors, at the Alto das Cruzes cemetery.