The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs, and a Ruthless Determination to Create Mayhem in an Oil-Rich Corner of Africa

By Adam Roberts

Equatorial Guinea is a tiny kingdom approximately the dimensions of the kingdom of Maryland. Humid, jungle coated, and rife with disagreeable ailments, natives name it satan Island. Its president in 2004, Obiang Nguema, have been accused of cannibalism, trust in witchcraft, mass homicide, billiondollar corruption, and normal rule via terror. With so little to suggest it, why in March 2004 used to be Equatorial Guinea the objective of a bunch of salty British, South African and Zimbabwean mercenaries, vacationing on an American-registered ex-National protect airplane particularly tailored for army reasons, that was once initially flown to Africa through American pilots? the true purpose lay deep less than the sea ground: oil.

In The canine of War, Frederick Forsyth successfully defined an try out by means of mercenaries to overthrow the govt of Equatorial Guinea — in 1972. And the chain of occasions surrounding the evening of March 7, 2004, is a unprecedented case of existence imitating art—or, at the very least, existence imitating a Nineteen Seventies thriller—in nearly uncanny aspect. With a solid of characters worthwhile of a remake of Wild Geese and a plot as mazy because it was once not going, The Wonga Coup is a story of venality, overarching self-importance and greed whose instance speaks to the issues of the complete African continent.

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By Adam Roberts

Equatorial Guinea is a tiny kingdom approximately the dimensions of the kingdom of Maryland. Humid, jungle coated, and rife with disagreeable ailments, natives name it satan Island. Its president in 2004, Obiang Nguema, have been accused of cannibalism, trust in witchcraft, mass homicide, billiondollar corruption, and normal rule via terror. With so little to suggest it, why in March 2004 used to be Equatorial Guinea the objective of a bunch of salty British, South African and Zimbabwean mercenaries, vacationing on an American-registered ex-National protect airplane particularly tailored for army reasons, that was once initially flown to Africa through American pilots? the true purpose lay deep less than the sea ground: oil.

In The canine of War, Frederick Forsyth successfully defined an try out by means of mercenaries to overthrow the govt of Equatorial Guinea — in 1972. And the chain of occasions surrounding the evening of March 7, 2004, is a unprecedented case of existence imitating art—or, at the very least, existence imitating a Nineteen Seventies thriller—in nearly uncanny aspect. With a solid of characters worthwhile of a remake of Wild Geese and a plot as mazy because it was once not going, The Wonga Coup is a story of venality, overarching self-importance and greed whose instance speaks to the issues of the complete African continent.

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What number extra may the undertaking continue to exist? 14 Get your weapons ‘Five hundreds small hands. ’ Simon Mann Time was once brief. The plotters have been nervous approximately elections: one in April in Equatorial Guinea that may aid legitimise Moto’s seize on energy; the opposite in March in Spain marking the retirement of sympathetic top minister Aznar. So February used to be the month to release the plot. Spanish ships and marines have been powering into place. approximately seventy footsoldiers were recruited. regardless of public dialogue of a coup, it appeared Equatorial Guinea had no complete caution.

One other guy didn't think what used to be taking place: ‘I was once one of many final to be arrested. I woke with a barrel of a gun in my face. i assumed firstly it was once a shaggy dog story. many of the males have been in army jackets on most sensible of civilian outfits. ’ It was once doubtful even if the officers have been infantrymen or police. He used to be informed to face whereas his palms have been cuffed in the back of his again. The arresting males shouted, in English, ‘No humorous jokes or we'll shoot you. ’ because the employed gun stumbled down from the American-registered aircraft, a vibrant gentle used to be flashed into his face.

It used to be simple incorrect to place funds, supposedly for oil sales, into the debts of Obiang’s spouse or different family members. (One oil advisor with reference to Equatorial Guinea informed the monetary instances in September 2004 that the multinationals have been ‘stupid’. With larger care they can have hidden the beneficiaries in their funds. ‘You [pay to] an organization while you are requested to do that,’ he says. ‘You don’t write it out to a reputation. ’) As such they have been conspiring with the crooked leaders of the rustic to defraud the folk of Equatorial Guinea of sales.

Samukange, the politically attached attorney who took up the defence case in Zimbabwe, stated the lads have been held for immigration offences, whereas prosecutors dreamt up different fees. Interviewed in Harare, Samukange defined: ‘Initially they ready ten fees, together with ridiculous counts, akin to contravening a UN solution on terrorism and mercenaries that has now not even been followed by way of our parliament. there have been many different loopy issues, fees approximately coups, you identify it, they considered every kind of items.

It really is crucial that we get correctly organised. Please belief and paintings with Alwyn and Jonathan and the others. they're getting pissed off that they can not care for Amanda or with James. it appears they've been informed that they need to care for Rebecca and Nigel. that's effective in precept: yet then they're informed that Nigel and Rebecca are assembly on TUESDAY and so on. and so forth. Our scenario isn't really sturdy and it's very pressing. They get no answer from pungent and Scratcher requested them to ring again after the Grand Prix race used to be over!

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