37 ex-opposition fighters on trial in Angola for attempted coup

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37 former fighters from Angola’s main opposition party go on trial today accused on attempting to topple the government earlier this year.

Members of the group affiliated to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) party face charges of planning an armed assault against the presidential palace in Luanda and of occupying the premises of Angola’s national public television and radio, on 31 January 2016, according to the charge sheet.

UNITA however denied the accusations.

The party’s parliamentary group leader, Adalberto da Costa Junior, said it was “not the first time” that the Angolan authorities had “used this type of accusation to denigrate the opposition.”

The prosecutor said the case had been kept under wraps for many months “to avoid unnecessary speculation and panic among the population.”

Authorities are still looking for 20 other suspects in connection with the coup bid.

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