Ver Angola


Government seeks remains of UNITA leaders in Jamba

The commission for the reconciliation of victims of political conflicts in Angola is on a mission to Jamba, the former headquarters of UNITA founder Jonas Savimbi, to look for the bones of party leaders and militants, it was announced this Thursday.

: Ampe Rogério/Lusa
Ampe Rogério/Lusa  

According to Public Television of Angola, the delegation of the Commission for the Implementation of the Reconciliation Plan in Memory of the Victims of Political Conflicts (Civicop) between 1975 and 2002, left Luanda on Monday and went to Menongue, capital of Cuando Cubango, driving then to Rivungo and from there to Jamba by helicopter.

"This activity is part of the pacification of spirits, reconciliation, and what is expected with this effort is that the country can recover peace of mind more quickly and families intend to carry out a dignified funeral for their loved ones", said Aurélio Rodriges, coroner who is part of the mission, stressing that this is a continuation of the work that has been done in Luanda.

The same official also stated that Civicop was formally contacted by the relatives of the victims in order to request the intervention of the Angolan State to locate the bones.

Fernando Garcia Miala, the head of the Angolan "secret" and coordinator of Civicop's security, logistics and infrastructure subcommittee, heads the mission, which also includes the spokesman, Israel Nambi, and two coroners.

The main targets of the search are members of the Chingunji family, Wilson dos Santos, around 80 women and children who were allegedly killed by Jonas Savimbi, founder of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), as well as other relatives of militants.

But the coroners admit that there is little to be done in terms of identification, in case the women were actually burned, as accused by some of Savimbi's detractors, such as the former militant and current president of the Humanist Party of Angola, Bela Malaquias.

The date coincides with the birthday of Jonas Savimbi, born on August 3, 1934 and killed by MPLA government troops on February 22, 2002.

In May 2021, the President asked for public apologies and forgiveness for the victims of political conflicts in Angola, in particular those that occurred on 27 May 1977, and announced his willingness to proceed with the delivery of death certificates and bones.

However, the reconciliation initiative has been called into question in recent months, after some orphans denounced that forensic examinations carried out on the bones of victims of the 27th of May 1977 confirmed that they did not correspond to their relatives.

On 27 May 1977, an alleged attempted coup d'état, in an operation allegedly led by Nito Alves — then former Minister of Internal Affairs from independence (11 November 1975) until October 1976 — was violently repressed by the regime of Agostinho Neto, the first President of Angola.

Six days earlier, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MLPA) had expelled Nito Alves from the party, which led the former minister and several supporters to invade the Luanda prison to free other sympathizers, while simultaneously taking control of the national radio station, a movement that became known as "fractionism".

Troops loyal to Agostinho Neto, with the support of the Cuban military, ended up establishing order and arresting the rebels, followed later by what became known as the "purge", with the elimination of the factions, with around 30,000 people being killed, for the most part without any connection to Nito Alves, as stated by Amnesty International in various reports on the subject.


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