Angola’s second president José Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled the mineral-rich state for almost four decades, has died aged 79, the government says.

He died in Spain where he was treated after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Dos Santos will be remembered for ending a long-running civil war in the early 2000s – his supporters dubbed him the “architect of peace”.

But his legacy is soiled by high levels of corruption and human rights violations while he was in power.

Having graduated in petroleum engineering in the Soviet Union in 1969, Dos Santos was only 37 years old when he became Angola’s president a decade later, following the death of the first president, António Agostinho Neto.

At the time, just four years after gaining independence in 1975, the country was wracked by a civil war between the two groups that had fought Portuguese colonisation – Dos Santos’ MPLA and Unita.

The war lasted for 27 years and ravaged the country. About 500,000 people are believed to have died in the conflict.

It also drew in foreign powers, with South Africa – then under white-minority rule – sending troops to support Unita, while Cuban forces intervened on the government’s side.


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