- A group of Nigerian gunmen who claimed to have drifted into Equatorial Guinea by accident have been slapped with prison terms as well as heavy fines.
The men, captured during the failed attacked at the presidential palace in February, have all been sentenced to 12 years in jail as well as fines to be paid in foreign US Dollar currency.
The Nigerians, believed to have belonged to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) have always maintained that their missions was not to attack in Equatorial Guinea, but were rather on a route to Cameroon, when their boat was swept by heavy storms.
MEND has however denied any knowledge of the mission.
Several of the local men who were also brought into the case, have been released in most cases for lack of evidence.
The government of Equatorial Guinea has always maintained that the attack was part of the plan to overthrow or destabilise the government.
Equatorial Guinea has been ruled by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema since 1979, when he seized power from his uncle in a coup.
He has survived several coup attempts, the closest being the 2004 one, where British and South African mercenaries were involved.
However, President Obiang surprised everybody on 15 October last year when announcing the 29 November elections and his government went a step further with a pardon of and freeing of British and South African mercenaries that stood behind an alleged coup in 2004.
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