Angola denies barring ex-President dos Santos from leaving country

Wednesday February 02 2022
Angola's former president José Eduardo dos Santos.

José Eduardo dos Santos, Angola's former president, in Luanda on August 17, 2011. PHOTO | AFP


The Angolan government has denied barring former president José Eduardo dos Santos from leaving the country.

Dos Santos returned to Angola’s capital Luanda in September last year after living in Barcelona since 2019.  He had initially travelled to Spain in 2019 for a routine medical examination.

Earlier in the week, a local website ran a story claiming that the former President had been barred from leaving Angola and that his benefits had been cut.

The Ministry of Telecommunications, Information Technologies and Social Communication rejected the allegations published on

“The information provided by this portal is false,” a statement said.

“President José Eduardo dos Santos, since 2017, has never failed to benefit from the institutional support to which he is entitled under the law, both in the territory and during the, almost, three years he has been away receiving medical care outside the country.”


According to the ministry's statement, the former Head of State does not need authorisation from anyone to travel to any part of the world.

“It is very irresponsible to deal with the intimate life of a former Head of State to the point of claiming that he is suffering from cancer, something that is not known to the Angolan authorities,” the statement added.

Dos Santos succeeded António Agostinho Neto in 1979, who ruled Angola for four years after independence from Portugal in 1975.

In 2017, President João Lourenço took over from dos Santos as Angola and ruling MPLA leader following a general election marking the end of a 38-year reign.

The private news website had claimed Dos Santos had received external help from Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema to help him meet medical costs, including hiring a plane for him.

According to the private media, expenses for the former president and deputies have been reduced to the equivalent $200,000 per year for payment of staff of their residence, including salaries of their director of office, secretaries, cooks, among others.

Authorities in Angola had targeted the dos Santos family shortly after he left power. His son Jose Filomeno dos Santos was in 2020 jailed for fraud and his daughter Isabel dos Santos and his ally Leopoldino do Nascimento “Dino” had their bank accounts frozen in a crackdown on stolen public funds.

General Dino was dos Santos' Head of Telecommunications for the Presidency between 1995 and 2010, adviser to the Minister of State and Head of the Intelligence Bureau in the Presidency from 2010 to 2018.