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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Angolan politician falls to death
Luanda
Foreign tourists witnessed the death
An Angolan deputy foreign minister has committed suicide by leaping from a terrace on the eighth storey of a hotel in the capital, Luanda, police say.

Francisco Romao, 61, jumped from the Hotel Presidente after walking into the building on Sunday, ostensibly to view traditional art being sold there.

Romao played an important part in Angola's war of independence against the former colonial ruler, Portugal.

Foreign ministry sources told the BBC his death was a "great loss".

The BBC's Zoe Eisenstein reports from Luanda that the indications are that Romao's act was premeditated.

When he climbed onto a wall of the terrace, some foreigners staying at the hotel alerted security guards. Romao looked at the guards and then jumped of the wall.

'Reserved'

Sources within the foreign ministry told our correspondent that the deputy minister, who was responsible for relations with Europe, had been a very reserved figure and nobody could say for sure what had led him to kill himself.

However, some colleagues said he had seemed quite unhappy in recent days and may have been having family troubles.

A post-mortem was due to be carried out later on Monday.

Officials in Angola's ruling MPLA party gave their condolences to Romao's family and said they were waiting for the police to give further information on the possible motive for his death.


SEE ALSO:
Timeline: Angola
15 May 04  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Angola
10 Jul 04  |  Country profiles


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