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Equatorial Guinea: Mugabe's Pal, Nguema Thwarts ‘Coup’

Malabo — The west African state of Equatorial Guinea said yesterday it had thwarted “a coup” in late December mounted by mercenaries who ...

Malabo — The west African state of Equatorial Guinea said yesterday it had thwarted “a coup” in late December mounted by mercenaries who sought to attack President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

In 2004, ousted Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe allegedly thwarted a coup in the West African country orchestrated by Simon Mann.

The 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt, also known as the Wonga coup failed to replace President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo with exiled opposition politician Severo Moto.

Mercenaries organised by mainly British financiers were arrested in Zimbabwe on 7 March 2004 before they could carry out the plot. Prosecutors alleged that Moto was to be installed as the new president in return for preferential oil rights to corporations affiliated to those involved with the coup.
Mugabe and Guinea President Nguema

The incident received international media attention after the reported involvement of Sir Mark Thatcher in funding the coup, for which he was convicted and fined in South Africa.

Mann, who was sentenced to 34 years in prison in Equatorial Guinea in 2008 for plotting to overthrow the oil-rich country's government, was granted a presidential pardon in 2009.

The president, had already signed the waiver, which was "a complete pardon on humanitarian grounds". In a statement read on public radio, Security Minister Nicolas Obama Nchama said “mercenaries . . . were recruited by Equatorial Guinean militants from certain radical opposition parties with the support of certain powers.”

The plot had been prevented thanks to an operation carried out “in collaboration with the Cameroon security services,” he said.

Nguema was born on 5 June 1942 and has been President of Equatorial Guinea since 1979. He ousted his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, in an August 1979 military coup and has overseen Equatorial Guinea's emergence as an important oil producer, beginning in the 1990s.

Obiang was Chairperson of the African Union from 31 January 2011 to 29 January 2012. He is the second longest-serving non-royal national leader in the world.

The nature of Obiang's government is non-democratic, since opposition is barely tolerated. He is also accused of corruption and abuse of power. 

Equatorial Guinea is currently a one party state controlled by the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE). The constitution provides Obiang wide powers, including the right to rule by decree. — AFP/Online Sources

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