Luanda — Angolan diplomats in several countries have expressed their deepest sorrow for the death of the former chief of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), gen. João Baptista de Matos, whose remains were buried Tuesday in Luanda.
General João de Matos died of illness on Saturday (4 November ) in Spain at the age of 62.
A message of condolences signed by the Angolan permanent representative to the United Nations, ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins, says the country has lost an illustrious son whose patriotism and contribution were decisive in the attainment and preservation of independence and peace.
Messages of sorrow to the bereaved family, to the Defence Ministry and to the General Staff of the Angola Armed Forces (FAA), also came from the embassies of Angola in Nigeria, Italy, Democratic Republic of Congo and Switzerland.
Other messages of condolences came from the ministries of former Combatants and Veterans of the Motherland, Industry, provincial governments of Luanda, Lunda Sul and Bié and the General Command of the National Police.
The messages highlight the deeds of the former chief of Staff in the national liberation struggle towards definitive peace in the country, hoping that his example will be followed by the generations to come.
A retired general, João de Matos was the first chief of Staff of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) from 1992 to 2001.
He joined the defunct armed wing of the current ruling MPLA party (FAPLA) in 1974, and graduated in Military Sciences from the Military Academy of Frunze, former Soviet Union, in 1987.
In his military career, he held various positions, including those of commander of company, battalion, special forces, regional director of military intelligence and others.
His leadership was crucial to the victory over then Unita rebel forces in the conflict that followed the country's 1992 first multiparty election.
He reorganised the Army and changed strategies, emphasising the sustainability of the attacks rather than ferocity.
Gen. João de Matos was the founder and president of the Kissama Foundation in 2001, a non-profit organisation whose objective was the rehabilitation, conservation and development of the Angola fauna and flora.
Its first project was launched in 2010 under the Noah's Ark programme designed to restock the Kissama National Park with specimens from South Africa.