Equatorial Guinea says it thwarted ‘coup’
Equatorial Guinea says it thwarted ‘coup’
Sources told AFP that the country’s ambassador to Chad had been arrested and was being held in a military camp.
In a statement read on public radio, Security Minister Nicolas Obama Nchama said an attempted coup took place on Dec. 24.
“A group of Chadian, Sudanese and Centrafricans [citizens of the Central African Republic] infiltrated Kye Ossi, Ebibeyin, Mongomo, Bata and Malabo to attack the head of state, who was in the Koete Mongomo presidential palace for the year-end holiday,” he said.
The “mercenaries... were recruited by Equatorial Guinean militants from certain radical opposition parties with the support of certain powers,” the minister said.
The plot had been prevented thanks to an operation carried out “in collaboration with the Cameroon security services,” he said.
Formerly a Spanish colony, Equatorial Guinea is one of sub-Sahara’s biggest oil producers but a large proportion of its 1.2 million population lives in poverty.
Obiang, in power for more than 38 years, is accused by critics of brutal repression of opponents, electoral fraud and corruption.
Wednesday’s announcement came after Cameroon on Dec. 27 arrested 38 heavily-armed men on the border with the tiny state.
Two days later, Equatorial Guinea’s ambassador to France, Miguel Oyono Ndong Mifumu, referred to the incident as an “invasion and destabilization attempt.”
The suspects, taken into custody in a bus on the border, had rocket launchers, rifles and a stockpile of ammunition, according to his office.
On Saturday, the 75-year-old Obiang said “a war” was being prepared against his regime, “because they say I have spent a lot of time in power.”
The same day, the country’s ambassador to Chad, Enrique Nsue Anguesom, was arrested in the district of Ebibeyin, on Equatorial Guinea’s border with Cameroon, one of his cousins and a senior police officer told AFP on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He is being held in a military camp in Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s economic capital, “in connection with the investigation concerning the arrests” on Dec. 27, said one of the sources.
Concurring sources said Equatorial Guinea’s borders with Gabon and Cameroon were closed on December 27. Other sources said military reinforcements had been sent to the fronter with Cameroon. Officials could not be reached to confirm these accounts.
Obiang took power in a coup on Aug. 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, gaining more than 90 percent of the vote, according to the official results.
Legislative elections on Nov. 12 last year saw the ruling party win 92 percent of the vote, a result condemned as fraudulent by dissidents.
The Citizens for Innovation (CI) opposition group, which secured one out of the 100 seats in the legislature, later reported that at least 50 of its members were detained after the ballot.
Its leader, Gabriel Nse Obiang, denied Wednesday that the CI had played any part in the attempted coup.
“I have no idea what they’re talking about,” Nse Obiang said, reached by phone from the capital Malabo. “The authorities are unable to come up with any proof.”
“Is the real problem that we are a serious opposition party who does not want to play along with the regime?” he asked.
In 2004, mercenaries attempted to overthrow Obiang in a coup thought to be largely funded by British financiers.
Resurfaced Biafran separatist leader claims he is in Israel
- I owe my survival to the State of Israel: Kanu
- Kanu heads the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement
ABUJA: Missing pro-Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu gave a radio broadcast on Sunday saying he was in Israel, suggesting he owed his survival to the Jewish state.
Kanu, a former London estate agent, heads the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement and the outlawed pirate radio station Radio Biafra but has not been seen in public since September last year.
He maintains the Igbo people, who are in the majority in southeast Nigeria, are a lost tribe of Israel and it is his mission to lead them to the promised land of Biafra.
There had been fevered speculation that Kanu was in Israel after a video live-streamed on Friday via the Facebook accounts of his known associates appeared to show him praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, sparking questions over how he had managed to leave Nigeria.
Kanu is facing treason charges in his homeland and had been on bail at the time troops were deployed to his home city of Umuahia in Abia state, southeast Nigeria, in September 2017.
He then failed to show at his trial in the capital, Abuja, sparking speculation as to his whereabouts.
In Sunday’s broadcast on Radio Biafra, Kanu declared: “I’m in Israel.”
“I owe my survival to the State of Israel,” he added, referencing the country’s Mossad spy agency but without specifying what kind of support Israeli authorities may have given him.
But he vowed to return to his homeland and called on his followers to boycott upcoming elections in Nigeria.
“I will be back soon in the land of Biafra and I will bring hell with me,” he said.
“IPOB will liberate Biafra and we will not take part in any elections until we get a referendum, it is not negotiable, we will do it by any means,” he added.
A previous unilateral declaration of independence by the Igbo people in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war that left more than one million dead.
Questions have been raised about how Kanu was able to get to Israel, as he had to surrender his Nigerian and British passports after his arrest.
In Friday’s video the man at the Western Wall bore a clear resemblance to Kanu and was dressed in sandals, white trousers, a white Jewish prayer shawl and skull cap.
Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, told AFP the footage was of his brother and was shot on Friday. He also spoke to him directly and said he was “fine.”