The African Union (AU) has condemned an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea stressing that it will not condone any unconstitutional power seizures on the continent.
The United Nations through its special envoy to the Central African nation, Francois Fall, had also condemned the attempted takeover promising to help Malabo with stabilization efforts.
The AU Commission’s position was contained in a statement released on Tuesday (January 9) in which its chairperson reiterated that the said coup attempt was contrary to the body’s relevant instruments on politics and governance.
Chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, had earlier met with the Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the African Union and Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr Simeon Oyono Esono.
The representative officially informed the AU of the attempted overthrow of President Theodore Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s government – which incident took place in late December 2017 reportedly with the help of foreign mercenaries.
“He (Mahamat) recalled the African Union’s principled stand on the rejection of unconstitutional changes of government, in accordance with its relevant instruments.
“He expressed the African Union’s strong condemnation of any attempt to seize power by force in Equatorial Guinea, as well as its commitment to the respect of legality and to the stability of the country,” the statement added.
The attempt as reported by the French news portal Jeune Afrique took place overnight from Wednesday December 27 to Thursday December 28, 2017. The government subsequently confirmed the incident.
Some 31 mercenaries were also reported to have been arrested in southern Cameroon as they attempted to enter the country apparently to help execute the overthrow. This is the second such attempt.
In 2004, South African mercenaries conspired to replace Obiang with a more business-friendly figure. The group, however, was stopped while in Zimbabwe. The so-called “Wonga coup” caught international attention due to its backing by a prominent British financier, Mark Thatcher, son of Britain’s former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Obiang (75), who has been in power since 1979, is Africa’s longest-serving president. // Adira Kallo with agency report