Angola jails alleged coup plotters for up to 10 years

2017-03-16 15:31
Jose Eduardo dos Santos (AFP)

Jose Eduardo dos Santos (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Luanda - An Angolan court handed down jail terms Wednesday ranging from four to 10 years to eight men accused of seeking to topple the country's long-ruling president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The men were described as the ringleaders among 35 former fighters from the Unita opposition party who allegedly tried to seize power in January 2016.

The purported plot was reported by the Angolan media only last November, and 35 people were placed on trial in Luanda, the capital, just a few days later.

Summarising his case last month, prosecutor Edelvasse Matias urged the court to hand down jail terms of six to eight years.

"The accused sought to foment trouble against the Angolan state and physically harm President Eduardo dos Santos," he said.

"If their scheme had succeeded, it would have destroyed the lives of millions of Angolans."

Knives and bayonets

According to the indictment, the men were arrested on January 30 and 31 last year, close to the presidential palace and the public television and radio station.

It said they had eight guns, as well as knives and bayonets.

The men were accused of plotting "to take over (the television station) after capturing the head of state at the presidential palace", the indictment said.

The accused repeatedly denied the charges. One of their lawyers, Assureira Sebastiao, on Wednesday said the verdict was a "political" decision and said there would be an appeal. Unita has denied any involvement in the affair.

The other defendants in the group were acquitted or sentenced to lighter jail terms that were covered by time already served in custody.

General elections are scheduled to be held in Angola in August, but Dos Santos, 74, has said he does not intend to seek a further term.

Massive oil boom 

He has named his defence minister, Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco, as his successor.

Dos Santos has governed the oil-rich central-western African power since 1979, just four years after independence from Portugal, making him Africa's second-longest serving leader after Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

For half of his tenure, Angola was gripped by a bloody civil war that ended only in 2002, which was followed by a massive oil boom.

But critics say millions of Angolans have missed out on the wealth, corruption is widespread and dissent is brutally repressed.

Read more on:    jose eduardo dos santos  |  angola  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.