Authorities in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea say they foiled an overnight attempt to overthrow the government of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasago – Africa’s longest serving leader.
The attempt as reported by the French news portal Jeune Afrique took place overnight from Wednesday December 27 to Thursday December 28.
Even though details of the incident are sketchy, there is said to be heightened security measures across the country with reports of swoops on persons believed to be involved.
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; the first took place in 2004.
Some political and security watchers are, however, calling the report a possible move by Malabo to purge the military and other security agencies of unwanted elements. Opposition members are also claiming members are being picked up arbitrarily.
“The opposition Citizens’ Party for Innovation (CI) has claimed multiple incidents of electoral fraud, and at least 50 opposition activists have been detained at the Evinayong prison (central Equatorial Guinea) since the election.
“A hundred others have been seeking refuge for the past several days at the party headquarters, located in the Nkolo Mbong district of the economic capital Bata, to avoid ongoing nocturnal arrests being carried out at opposition activists’ homes,” GardaWorld, a security website reported.