[Marxism] Equatorial Guinea Coup Effort Stopped by Zimbabwe

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Thu Mar 11 04:41:14 MST 2004

For more links to articles on the Equatorial Guinea coup attempt see these 

Equatorial Guinea analysis from US government:

 From Africa Confidential

Malabo imbroglio
South African mercenaries are detained in Bioko and Zimbabwe en route to 
Malabo to oust President Obiang but at whose instigation?

The foiled plot to oust President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and 
replace him with opposition leader Severo Moto Nsa ranks as one of the 
most farcical military adventures in Africa's long history of coup-making. 
It may also embarrass the governments of Spain and South Africa as 
questions are asked about how the plotters were able to organise their 
plan with apparent impunity.

Africa Confidential has learned that both the arrests of 15 ex-South 
African and other soldiers in Bioko, following the seizure of a United 
States-registered plane in Zimbabwe, and the arrests of a further 64 
ex-South African soldiers on 6 March were part of a mismanaged plot to 
overthrow President Obiang and install Spanish-based opposition leader 
Severo Moto. Moto, who was involved in a separate, failed mercenary-led 
conspiracy in 1997, has vigorously denied the charge.

The 15 mercenaries arrested in Bioko were mainly South Africans, but their 
number also included some Kazakh and Armenian nationals and one German. 
The mercenaries' leader, a white South African who called himself 'Nick' , 
said he had been contacted by a man with a British accent named Craig, who 
reportedly had an American passport.

The coup plotters who flew into Harare Airport on Sunday appear to have 
been duped by some Zimbabwean military officers, led by Colonel Tshinga 
Dube, Director of Zimbabwe Defence Industries.  Last week some of the 
ringleaders flew into Harare to meet Col. Dube and paid US$180,00 for a 
consignment of AK-47s, mortars and 30,000 rounds of ammunition.

But when the main team of mercenaries flew into Harare on 7 March in a 
Boeing 727-100, registered to US-based Dodson Aviation Inc., they were all 
arrested and the plane was seized. Dodson say that the plane had recently 
been sold to Logo Logistics, a private security company, based in the 
British Virgin Islands.  Africa Confidential has obtained copies of an 
'investor agreement' between Logo Logistics and the Lebanon-based Asian 
Trade and Investment Group SAL, which  was alleged to have commissioned 
the overthrow of President Obiang, according to military sources in South 

Equatorial Guinea Information Minister Agustin Nze Nfumu has accused 
London-based businessman Ely Calil of helping to organise and finance the 
coup attempt.  Nze Nfumu called Calil the 'Godfather of Severo Moto'. But 
Calil told Africa Confidential that he had no links to Asian Trade and 
Investment Group and no connection to the coup plot.  However, Calil did 
concede that he was a friend of opposition leader Severo Moto, the 
supposed beneficiary of the plot, and had given 'modest' financial support 
in recent years.

The unmasking of the coup plot may also embarrass Spanish Prime Minister 
Jose Maria Aznar, who has had several meetings with Moto recently, and was 
said by military sources to have been aware of the plot.  Aznar is due to 
stand down ahead of national elections in the next few weeks.

The affair will also be a test case for South Africa's anti-mercenary 
legislation, given that much of the planning for the coup happened there 
and that most of the mercenaries were former South African soldiers.

President Obiang will doubtless try to use the failed coup to his 
advantage. His position has seemed to weaken in recent months, with the 
succession battle heating up and rifts developing within the country's 
tiny ruling clique.  The latest blow to Obiang came late last month when 
he visited Washington D.C. in an attempt to resolve problems with his 
government's account at Riggs Bank.  Obiang is the sole signatory on that 
account, which had a balance of more than US$600 million.  The account has 
recently been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and an 
official at Riggs Bank has been interrogated by US agents.

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