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Remains of Angolan rebel commander are repatriated

JOHANNESBURG — The remains of a former Angolan rebel commander were repatriated from South Africa in an effort by Angolan President Joao Lourenco to reconcile with the opposition.

South African and Angolan officials on Thursday presided over a ceremony at the Waterkloof air force base for Arlindo Chenda Pena, who died of an illness in South Africa in 1998.

Pena, known as “Ben Ben,” was a rebel commander in UNITA, or the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola. He was also a nephew of UNITA chief Jonas Savimbi, whose death in a 2002 clash with government forces signaled the end of Angola’s civil war.

In the mid-1990s, Pena had a senior post in Angola’s national army during a fragile peace process.

UNITA became the main opposition party after the war.