General Henrique "Iko" Teles Carreira (1933–2000) served as the first Defense Minister of Angola from 1975 to 1980 during the civil war. After the death of Agostinho Neto his position in the party weakened. He later served as ambassador to Algeria and military attaché to Spain.
He was a fighter in the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party (MPLA), Agostinho Neto's armed wing fighting against Portuguese colonial occupation. Founder and commander in chief of the Angolan Armed Forces, he defeated the FNLA in the north and UNITA in the south during the first civil war. As Secretary of Defense, he thwarted an attempt at a coup led by Nito Alves. Considered to be the regime's second in command until Neto's death, he was the first African military officer to receive a degree as a general from the Soviet Union 's (Academia de Estado- Maior).
General Iko Carreira knew and associated with Amílcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, and Lúcio Lara of Angola.
The 27 of May 1977 Nito Alves attempted a coup that ended the lives of many former freedom fighters, including Saidy Mingas, and Dangere. The government arrested tens of thousands of suspected Nitistas, supporters of Nito Alves from May to November 1977 after they tried to overthrow President Agostinho Neto. Some suspects were then tried in secret courts overseen by Carreira. According to some accounts,those who were found guilty, including José Van-Dunem, Jacobo "Immortal Monster" Caetano, the head of the 8th Brigade, and political commissar Eduardo Evaristo, were then shot and buried in secret graves.
General Iko Carreira's last struggle was to combat his illness, a stroke that paralysed his entire left side for the last 13 years of his life, writing two novels with one finger, on a special computer. The novels are titled: "O Pensamento Estrategico de Agostinho Neto", Publicacoes Dom Quixote, and "Memorias" published in Angola by Nzila.
In an article written for The Guardian, on June 6, 2000, Victoria Brittain wrote of General Iko Carreira: "He was brave, assured, mutli-lingual, wordly ....Like his friend and mentor, President Neto, Carreira will always remain a reference point for Angolans for the heroic period of their history. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and four sons."