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By Biodun Busari

Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has fallen into a coma in an intensive care at a clinic in Barcelona on Wednesday.

The 79-year-old dos Santos who ruled Africa’s second-biggest oil producer for almost 40 years has been battling health issues since 2019.

After a 38-year stint in office that made him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, dos Santos stepped down in 2017.

His rule was marked by a brutal civil war lasting nearly three decades against the United States-backed UNITA rebels – which he won in 2002 – and a subsequent oil-fuelled boom that enriched elites but did little to alleviate widespread poverty.

He was replaced by Joao Lourenco, who despite being from dos Santos’s People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), speedily moved to probe the allegations of multibillion-dollar corruption during the latter’s period, targeting the former leader’s children.

The assets of his daughter Isabel dos Santos, usually lauded as Africa’s richest woman with an estimated worth of $3.5bn as of 2013, have also been frozen by the Angolan government.

Last year, the elder dos Santos returned home for the first time since he went into exile in Barcelona in April 2019.

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