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Fri, 14 Sep 2018 16:08 - Updated Fri, 14 Sep 2018 16:08

Angola: President pays tribute to former FAA General "Ben Ben"

Luanda - Angolan head of State João Lourenço Friday here paid a tribute to the former deputy chief of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) Arlindo Chenda Pena "Ben Ben", who died of illness on October 18, 1998 in South Africa.

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Coffin containing the remains of General Arlindo Pena "Ben Ben"

Photo: Alberto Juliao

President João Lourenço before the coffiin bearing the remains of General Arlindo Pena "Ben Ben"

Photo: Alberto Juliao

The President of Republic and Commander in Chief of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), João Lourenço, deposited a wreath and conveyed condolences to the bereaved family during the public viewing ceremony held at FAA General Barrack (ex-RI 20) in Luanda.

Signing the book of condolences, João Lourenço acknowledged the deeds of General Ben Ben, wishing that his Soul rest in peace in his homeland.

Paid tribute to Ben Ben were also members of sovereign bodies, President's aides, MPs of National Assembly, Magistrates, high ranking officials of the Ministry of Defense, FAA, National Police, political parties and civil society organisations.

The remains of the general Arlindo Chenda Pena “Ben Ben” arrived Thursday in Luanda from South Africa, after 20 years.

The decision to repatriate the remains followed a request from UNITA leader Isaías Samakuva to the President João Lourenço.

Angolan head of State João Lourenço contacted his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, who gave the green light to the exhumation.

The remains of Ben Ben will be buried on Saturday in a family cemetery in Lopitanga village, Andulo municipality, central Bie province.

The arrival of the body of General "Ben Ben" to Angola represents a step meant to clear obstacles to the national reconciliation of the Angolans, said UNITA President Isaias Samakuva on Thursday.

The current leader of UNITA, the largest opposition party, highlighted the support of the Angolan President, after years in which everything seemed unthinkable.

Arlindo Chenda Pena "Ben Ben" was born in Andulo municipality, central Bié province.

At the time of his death he was the deputy chief of Staff of FAA, as a result of the 1991 Bicesse (Portugal) Peace Accords between the former Unita rebel and Government, that led to the formation of the single army.

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