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Krasnaya Zvezda (The Red Star)
Dogs of War Are Back


Author: Bakhtiyar Ahmedkhanov

Just before the New Year, a coup attempt was occurred in Equatorial Guinea, a small but oil-rich Central African country and Africas third largest oil exporter.

Approximately 30 heavy-armed mercenaries penetrated into the country from Cameroon to attack government bodies, ignite violent unrest and topple President Obiang, according to the Ministry for National Security of Equatorial Guinea.

News on takeovers in Africa are dime a dozen these days but the number of attempted coups in Guinea, though failed, is shocking even in relation to Africa there were as many as three in 2000s.

In 2004, the mercenary force headed by Simon Mann, a top university alumnus who had served in the Special Air Service of the British Army, were arrested in Zimbabwe while preparing to fly to Equatorial Guinea. Mark Thatcher, son of former Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher, was one of the masterminds of the coup plot.

In 2009, a group of armed bandits who were hired in Nigeria attacked the presidential palace in countrys capital city Malabo from their boats the raid was fought off and the attackers were defeated.

And recently, in December 2017, there was the third attempt by a group of thugs engaged from the Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan, not elite British paratroopers retrained as bandits.

There were many attempts to overthrow the government in Equatorial Guinea in the 20th century. The Dogs of War novel by Frederick Forsyth features the fictional African country of Zangaro that was inspired greatly by Equatorial Guinea.

Comparing details on coups in different countries all over the world and the coup attempts in Equatorial Guinea, there is an aspect that strikes the eye. In many other countries, coupists are the local people who are not happy with the regime, while in Equatorial Guinea all the coups are staged by someone from abroad.

This does not suggest that the whole population in the country are crazy about Obiang and seek no changes. But the level of dissatisfaction with the government, which is a typical phenomenon in any country, is far from reaching critical point where people are ready to risk their lives to topple the government.

Who is set against the government of Equatorial Guinea and why? All lamentations of human rights activists about poor Equatoguineans who live on two dollars a day are not worth a dime and are rather aimed at simpletons. The arguments spoken by those critics are easily demolished by the two facts that cannot be contradicted even by the most ardent anti-Obiang campaigners:

  1. Average monthly salaries in Equatorial Guinea are $1000.

  2. Equatorial Guinea is not a source of refugees and illegal migrants to Europe. Instead, the country is a harbor for many dozens of thousands of legal and illegal job seekers from Africa and China. Even some Spaniards who cannot find employment in Spain come to their ex-colony in search of a better life.

It is a reminder that Equatorial Guinea is a former colony to Spain that left the Africas poorest country in 1968. But in the middle of 1980s, huge oil deposits were found there and the country was then dubbed the Second Kuwait.

Agapito Mba Mokuy, the Equatorial Guineas Minister of Foreign Affairs, defined the failed coup attempt as an act of international terrorism with the complicity of foreign terrorists and mercenaries bankrolled by other countries.

Those who want to get a piece of the Guinean pie persevere in their attempts to hook some massive oil assets in that country, which results in a direct threat to the interests of some international and American corporations dealing with the Equatoguinean offshore oil extraction since oil was struck there. These also include companies of China, Morocco, Egypt and French that work over large-scale infrastructure projects in Equatorial Guinea.

A possible target for the coup attempts masterminds was the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) that includes Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo and Chad, along with Equatorial Guinea, which is one of Africas most efficient integration associations. It is not without reason that delegations of those countries paid visits to Equatorial Guinea immediately after coup reports to express unanimous solidarity and support to President Obiang.

The concerns of African leaders are easy to understand since there are people who want Africa to be poor and fragmented and cement their control over African resources.


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