The body of Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who died in Spain last month, arrived in Luanda on Saturday, ending a weeks-long feud over the repatriation of the ex-president’s corpse.
A plane carrying the remains landed in the Angolan capital from Barcelona in the evening, AFP reporters at the scene said.
Only a few dozen people had gathered at Luanda’s airport to welcome the former president’s casket.
“I was told he was going to arrive, so I came to greet him. It was a nice welcome,” said Wilson Miguel, one of those in attendance.
Several of Dos Santos’ children and his widow, Ana Paula, were also present. Ana Paula appeared teary as she got into a vehicle outside the airport.
Some people clapped as the coffin wrapped in an Angolan flag was taken away followed by a convoy of black cars.
More came out on the streets to watch the convoy pass by. Some cheered, others chanted “Ze Du!”—Dos Santos’s nickname, footage posted on social media showed.
“We Angolans are proud to welcome the remains of president dos Santos, and that he can have a dignified funeral,” said another attendee, Telma Pilartes.
Dos Santos, who ruled the oil-rich African nation with an iron first from 1979 to 2017, died in Barcelona on July 8 at the age of 79 after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Since then, the question of when and where he will be buried has pitted the Angolan government and his widow against some of his adult children.
A Barcelona court this week ordered his remains be delivered to Ana Paula and granted authorization for “the repatriation and international transfer of (his) remains to Angola.”
Dos Santos’ 44-year-old daughter Tchize dos Santos filed an appeal to challenge the decision.
But Josep Riba Ciurana, a lawyer for the widow, told AFP a judge had granted immediate execution of the ruling, allowing the body to leave Spain.