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Angolan activists denounce dos Santos, urge him to step down

Angolan activists denounce dos Santos, urge him to step down


The 17 recently freed Angolan activists have denounced long serving President Jose Eduardo dos Santos inability to raise the fledgling economy of the oil rich nation and urged him to step down.

The activists who were only released after intense domestic and international pressure also accused dos Santos who has been in power since 1979 of ruling the country with an iron fist.

Majority of them were first arrested during a book club meeting in June last year and charged with “preparatory acts of rebellion” and “criminal conspiracy” before being sentenced in late March to prison terms ranging from 2 to 8 years.

Sixteen of them were freed in June while one remained in prison serving out a four-month sentence for a contempt of court offence imposed during the trial.

Rights groups say activists in Angola, Africa’s second-largest oil producer, are being increasingly targeted by the government.

Dos Santos said earlier this year he would stand down in 2018, but there was scepticism over whether he would do so after similar pledges in the past.

His current mandate ends at the end of next year.