Angola opposition demands answers about dos Santos' health

Fri May 19, 2017 11:51am GMT
 

By Ed Cropley

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Angola's opposition called on the government on Friday to reveal the state of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' health amid reports that Africa's second-longest ruler is seriously ill at a hospital in Spain.

The 74-year-old dos Santos, who has run the oil-producing southern African nation since 1979, left Angola at the start of May on what was officially billed as a two-week "private visit" but is yet to return.

State media, the only channel through which the government communicates, has maintained total silence on the issue, despite a report on an Angola-related Facebook page last week saying dos Santos had died.

His daughter, Isabel, took to Instagram at the weekend to knock down the report, dismissing it as "fake news", but did not provide any additional information, fuelling more rumours and speculation.

"Someone has gone so low as to invent information about the death of a man in order to create confusion and turmoil in Angolan politics," Isabel dos Santos, who is also head of state oil firm Sonangol, said.

Attempts to obtain comment from dos Santos' spokesman were unsuccessful.

Raul Danda, parliamentary president of the opposition UNITA party, said the lack of clarity about the health of the man who has been central to Angola's stability since the end of a long civil war in 2002 was becoming a national security issue.

"The health of the President is a matter of concern to everyone, but the problem is that everything about the health of the President is top secret," he told Reuters in Johannesburg.   Continued...

Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos talks to journalists a  in a file photo.  REUTERS/Hugo Correia
 
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