Rede Angola

The general who led the Angolan army in the fight against the Unita rebels has died, officials confirmed.

The ruling MPLA party said in a statement that Gen (Rtd) João de Matos, 62, died on Saturday in Spain following a sickness.

“It is with deep sorrow that the MPLA Political Bureau learnt of the death of Comrade João Baptista de Matos today in Spain following a sickness,” said the statement.

The Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) has since metamorphosed into Angola’s main opposition party.

Unita was founded by Dr Jonas Savimbi in 1966 and fought a 27-year civil war with the Angolan government, before transitioning into a political party.

Dr Savimbi, a controversial but charismatic leader, was killed in a battle against the MPLA government forces on February 22, 2002.

Gen Matos reportedly died of cancer of the pancreas.

He was the first Angolan Chief of General Staff between 1992-2001.

Gen Matos is also credited with leading the national troops during the Second Congo War to support the Joseph Kabila regime.

Earlier this month,, which investigates wealth globally, listed Gen Matos as the fifth richest Angolan with a net worth of $550 million.

Former President José Eduardo dos Santos topped the rich list with a net worth of $20 billion.

The former president’s daughter, Ms Isabel dos Santos, was ranked second, with a net worth of $3.4 billion.

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