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Angola 'coup' trial postponed

Angola 'coup' trial postponed

Angola

Angola on Friday announced the postponement of the trial of 37 alleged former fighters from the main UNITA opposition group who are accused of a mysterious coup attempt in January.

The trial has been pushed back to December 2 “at the request of defence lawyers”, Luanda court judge Joao Pedro Fuantoni told reporters just before the opening of the hearing Scheduled for Friday morning.

In a surprise announcement, the Angolan state news agency reported Thursday that members of the former armed wing of UNITA had attempted a coup against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in January.

They are accused of planning an armed assault on the presidential palace in Luanda, as well as plotting to attack public television and radio stations.

The defendants are former members of the armed wing of the main opposition party, the former rebell group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.

UNITA has denied the accusations.

Judge Fuantoni told reporters Friday that thirty-five people were arrested two others are still on the run.

The accused face charges of criminal association, attempted assassination of the head of state and illegal possession of firearms, he added.

“After the trial everything will be clear, we will know whether or not they had political motivations,” he said.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos, 74, has ruled Angola for 37 years and is expected to run for next years elections.

AFP

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