[Marxism] Equatorial Guinea Coup Effort Stopped by Zimbabwe
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
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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