UPDATE 1-Angolan leader denies he is father of Congolese woman

Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:25pm BST

* Dos Santos denies being father of Congolese woman

* Angolan president has married three times

* Says family members call him Ze not Edu as woman alleges

(Adds dos Santos quotes, background)

By Henrique Almeida

LUANDA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Tuesday denied a claim by a Congolese woman that he is her father.

In a rare statement that shed light on the personal life of one of Africa's most enigmatic leaders, Dos Santos, 68, said Ngutuila Josefa Matias, 46, had tried to meet him and had stated publicly that she was his daughter.

The president said he had moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1961 during Angola's fight for independence from Portugal but denied having any affairs there.

During the three years that he lived there, "I never had any girlfriend or lover. At the time all I thought about was completing my studies," dos Santos said.

The Congolese woman, who recently arrived in Luanda, said in an interview with an Angolan weekly, Folha 8, on Sunday that she and other members of dos Santos's family used to refer to the president as Edu.

Dos Santos, whose three decades in power have prompted many Angolans to refer to him as "the boss," also denied this claim.

"I am Jose at home, my family members call me Ze, the younger ones refer to me as Manu Ze, my nephews call me uncle Ze and during my childhood ... everyone called me Jose Eduardo," he said.

After living in Congo in the early 1960s, dos Santos went on to study engineering in the Soviet Union, where he met his first wife, and returned to Angola before the oil-producing nation gained independence in 1975.

Four years later, he was unexpectedly declared president of Angola by the ruling MPLA party after the death of the nation's first president, Agostinho Neto. Dos Santos has been in power since then.

"She must be patient," dos Santos said of the woman.

"Many Angolan refugees travelled to the Congos and some even lived there during the liberation struggle. Maybe someone by the name of Eduardo or Edu is her real biological father," he said.

Dos Santos, who has been married three times, has three daughters and five sons. (Reporting by Henrique Almeida; Editing by Giles Elgood)