The authorities in Equatorial Guinea say they thwarted an attempted coup in late December. mounted by mercenaries who sought to attack President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
The plot had been prevented thanks to an operation carried out in collaboration with the Cameroon security. At least 30 armed men were arrested recently in Cameroon, near the border with Equatorial Guinea on December 27.
Two days later, Equatorial Guinea’s ambassador to France, Miguel Oyono Ndong Mifumu, referred to the incident as an “invasion and destabilization attempt”.
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” to overthrow the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has been in power for nearly 40 years.
The alleged mercenaries – from Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic (CAR) – were found with rocket launchers, rifles and large amounts of ammunition.
Obiang has been president for more than 38 years. He took power in a coup on August 3, 1979, ousting his own uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who was shot by firing squad. He was re-elected to a fifth seven-year term in 2016
In 2004, mercenaries attempted to overthrow Obiang in a coup thought to be largely funded by British financiers. The failed coup attempt was led 14 years ago by former British soldier Simon Mann who was arrested in Zimbabwe in 2004 and extradited four years later to Equatorial Guinea, where he was sentenced to 34 years in prison.
One year later he was released after being pardoned by Mr Obiang