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Dos Santos children agree to state funeral in Angola

Several of late Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s children have agreed to hold a state funeral for their father in Angola but only after an election there in August, they said in a letter seen Wednesday by AFP.

Dos Santos, who ruled the oil-rich African nation with an iron first between 1979 and 2017, died in Barcelona on July 8 at the age of 79 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Since then the question of when and where he will be buried has pitted the Angolan government and his widow, Ana Paula, against some of his adult children.

Angola’s current president, Joao Lourenco, and dos Santos’ widow want to bring his body home for a funeral.

But dos Santos’s daughter Welwitschia, 44, has said the former leader wanted to be buried in Spain where he had lived since 2019, and claimed that some of her siblings agree with her.

Five of dos Santos’s children have now signed a letter saying they agree to a state funeral in Angola for their father but only after the elections there on August 24 to avoid an “unacceptable political use” of the event.

They also said “consolidating the political heritage” of the former president should involve adopting a “amnesty law” and “ending legal proceedings” against “numerous Angolans”.

Since taking over from dos Santos in 2017, Lourenco has unleashed an anti-corruption drive that has targeted the former president’s family.

Dos Santos’s eldest daughter Isabel, 49, who signed the letter seen by AFP, faces a slew of investigations into her multinational business dealings. Forbes once named her as Africa’s richest woman.

Another signatory is dos Santos’s son Jose Filomeno, 44, who has been in prison since 2019 on corruption charges.

Welwitschia’s name also appears in the letter, but she “categorically” denies having signed it, her lawyers told AFP.

She has filed a legal complaint against the former Angolan president’s widow and his personal physician for “attempted murder”, accusing them of neglect, and demanded than an autopsy be performed.

A Spanish court on Friday refused to release the body of dos Santos to his family and ordered more tests on the former president’s remains.