Plot to Overthrow ‘Cannibal’ President
Agence France Presse, The Australian, Mar. 12
MALABO: A conspiracy to abduct the long-serving president of the small oil-rich west African nation of Equatorial Guinea was revealed on national television yesterday by the alleged leader of a group of mercenaries.
“It wasn’t a question of taking the life of the head of state, but of spiriting him away, taking him to Spain and forcing him into exile and then of immediately installing the government-in-exile of Severo Moto Nsa,” said the man, named as South African Nick du Toit, 48.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who came to power in a 1979 coup in which he had his uncle, former president Francisco Macias Nguema, executed, announced the arrest of 15 mercenaries on Tuesday, saying they were plotting to overthrow him.
He linked them to 67 men arrested in Zimbabwe at the weekend when their plane was impounded. That group has been threatened with execution by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
Equatorial Guinea called yesterday for the extradition of Mr Moto, who tried to mount a coup against Mr Obiang in 1997 from Angola, for which he was sentenced in absentia to 101 years’ jail. He recently set up a “government in exile” in Spain.
Mr Moto denied any involvement in the plot and claimed on Spanish radio that Mr Obiang was an “authentic cannibal” who “systematically eats his political rivals”.
“A while back he paid millions to those they call marabou (sorcerers) to tell him if his power-base was safe. They told him that to keep his grip on power he had to kill people close to him,” Mr Moto said. “Obiang wants me to go back to Guinea and eat my testicles. That’s clear.”