By Fabien Essiane
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AA) – Clashes reportedly erupted late Wednesday in Equatorial Guinea between security forces and 'mercenaries' shortly after the government said it had stopped an attempted coup, according to official sources.
“Equatorial Guinea's security forces shot dead a mercenary in the clashes… The mercenaries fled into the forest at the border, ” state-run TVGE reported.
It gave no details concerning the number of the so-called mercenaries, or the border in question.
The report arrived on the heels of a claim by Security Minister Nicolas Obama Nchama on Wednesday that the government forces had thwarted a coup plot backed by the opposition.
Nchama said: “On December 24, a group of Chadian, Sudanese and Central African mercenaries infiltrated the localities of Kye-Ossi, Ebebiyin, Mongomo, Bata et Malabo to attack the head of state, who was in the presidential palace in Mongomo, his hometown. “
Nchama said Equatorial Guinean authorities had launched a joint operation with Cameroonian security services to crush the reported coup attempt.
Earlier this week, Cameroonian local media reported General Mahamat Kodo Bani — a Chadian national and the alleged leader of the coup plot — was arrested in Douala, Cameroon.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been in power since 1979. His son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, is the vice president of the Central African oil-rich nation.
Critics say his administration is marred by corruption and embezzlement.
On Wednesday evening, opposition Convergence for Innovation party published a list of 146 activists detained since Dec. 29, 2017, following the alleged coup bid.
Lawmaker Jesus Mitogo Oyono Andeme and municipal council member Elvira Beheba Site — both elected during the November 2017 general elections — were amongst those arrested, the opposition party said.