Angolans ‘should face EG trial’

Angolans ‘should face EG trial’
19/05/2004 20:37 – (SA)

Malabo – Angolans among a group of 15 people accused of plotting a
coup in Equatorial Guinea should face trial in the central African
country, says their ambassador.

“Mercenaries identified as Angolans or South African-Angolans should
answer for their actions to Equatorial Guinean justice,” said envoy
Emilio José de Carvalho late on Tuesday, quoted on state radio.

On March 6, the Equatorial Guinean government announced the arrest
in Malabo of 15 men suspected to be mercenaries, whom they accused
of preparing to oust President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on behalf of an
exiled opposition leader.

The group included Angolans, Armenians and South Africans, some of
Angolan origin.

There was also one German, who died after “an attack of cerebral
malaria”, according to the authorities.

De Carvalho, who lives in Libreville, capital of neighbouring Gabon,
came to Obiang Nguema with a message from Angolan President José
Eduardo dos Santos, said the radio broadcast.

Ruled with an iron rod

“Angola cannot allow some of its citizens to bring death and misery to
other peoples,” said the ambassador, according to the radio report,
which added that the contents of the presidential message were not

The government of Obiang, who has ruled the small tropical country
with an iron grip since 1979, expects Zimbabwe to extradite a further
group of 70 men arrested in Harare on March 7 and accused there of
planning to fly on to take part in the coup.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe earlier this month held talks with
Obiang after which an official said Mugabe had agreed to hand over
the men for trial and a possible death sentence in Equatorial Guinea.

However, there has not been any official statement from the Zimbabwe
government about extradition of the 70 men.

A lawyer for the 70 men, who come from South Africa, Namibia and
Angola but were almost all travelling on South African passports,
on Tuesday announced potential legal action against South Africa’s
government unless it helped the men.

They have asked the government to either seek their extradition to
South Africa or provide assurances that they will not be handed over
for trial in Equatorial Guinea, said the lawyer.

Edited by Iaine Harper