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Equatorial Guinea
Politics | Society

Equatoguinean opposition leader denies coup plot

Severo Moto:
«There was no coup attempt against President Obiang.»

© afrol News
afrol News, 2 September
- The Equatoguinean exiled opposition leader Severo Moto today denied the many accusations against him, claiming he was involved in the alleged coup plot against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Mr Moto is said to have cooperated with the alleged "mercenaries" on trial in Malabo and Harare, waiting to be enthroned as the country's new President - something he strongly denies.

The exiled opposition politician even denies there had ever been a coup plot against President Obiang. This, according to a written statement sent to afrol News today, was "proven by the justice system of Zimbabwe." A Harare court has dropped its mercenary charges against a group that was accused of heading to Equatorial Guinea to topple the country's government in cooperation with an alleged group of mercenaries detained in Malabo.

Mr Moto leads the Madrid-based self-proclaimed "exiled government of Equatorial Guinea" after the prominent opposition leader was forced to flee from the dictatorship of President Obiang a few years ago. Since his arrival in Spain, Mr Moto has become the most visible opposition politician among the large Equatoguinean Diaspora, allegedly with good contacts within the Spanish government.

In Equatorial Guinea, however, he is controversial. The Obiang regime on several occasions has accused Mr Moto and his "government" of planning armed coups against him. Equatorial Guinea's only legal opposition party, CPDS, is on distance to Mr Moto, suspecting the exiled leader is not willing to play by democratic rules if a power change one day should become reality in the country ruled by Mr Obiang since 1979.

Mr Moto has made international headlines since the March alleged coup plot, where 15 "mercenaries" from mostly South Africa were arrested in Equatorial Guinea - followed by the arrest of 70 alleged mercenaries in Harare, Zimbabwe. President Obiang rapidly announced that these "mercenaries" were receiving orders from Mr Moto and were financed by the Spanish government.

In the ongoing but paused Malabo trial against the surviving 14 mercenaries, the alleged "leader", South African national Nick du Toit, repeated these accusations, allegedly after being tortured. Mr du Toit told the court he had been told that Mr Moto was to "land in an aircraft 30 minutes after the main force has landed" to take power. Then, Mr du Toit said, "the Spanish government would recognise the Moto government."

According to the press release issued by Mr Moto's "exiled government", these stories are however falsifications. Referring to the "mercenary" group held in Malabo, the statement says: "There are person in Equatorial Guinea that in this moment are shivering of pain and anxiety - they have been detained for six months in deploring conditions - for having 'participated' in a farce that never existed, according to the judiciary in Zimbabwe."

The alleged "mercenary leader" of the group detained in Harare, Simon Mann, was only convicted for an attempt to illegally buy weapons in Zimbabwe. The Harare court dismissed the charges against Mr Mann and his colleagues regarding plotting to overthrow President Obiang. Mr Mann has maintained he and his group were heading towards Congo Kinshasa (DRC), where they were to work as security guards at a mine.

The "government" headed by Mr Moto emphasised "there has been no coup attempt, but yes there have been detained." The statement recalled the "shameful and ridiculous" nature of the judiciary in Equatorial Guinea, which is known to be controlled by the country's political leadership. Torture and fabricated evidence are also known to be frequently used against political dissidents.

Equatorial Guinea has a long history of alleged coup plots against President Obiang, who himself came to power in a military coup against his own uncle, President Macias Nguema, who was executed. Most alleged coup plots have ended up in purges against the country's battered opposition, often ahead of elections.

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