Angola’s President João Lourenço has apologised to victims and families of those killed in the May 1977 massacre and asked for forgiveness on the government’s behalf.
Thousands, including many of the country’s young intellectuals and party activists, were imprisoned, tortured and killed following a split in the governing People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party.
Amnesty International says 30,000 died in the purge. Some say as many as 90,000 were killed.
In his address to the nation, President Lourenço termed the killings by government forces as a “great evil”.
He termed the government’s response as “disproportionate and extreme”.
But it was “no longer time to point fingers at each other”, he said.
The government would begin a search for the remains of some of the historical figures who were killed to return them to their families, Mr Lourenço said.
“This public apology and forgiveness is not limited to simple words, it reflects our sincere regret and willingness to put an end to the anguish that throughout these years the families carry with them for lack of information about the fate given to their loved one,” he said.