Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Equatorial Guinea: the hand of London?

Britain knew of plot to overthrow government five weeks before attempted coup

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has admitted in parliament that London knew about the plans to overthrow the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea five weeks before the arrest of mercenaries in Zimbabwe in March, for planning a coup d'etat.

The question remains, if Britain knew about the plot and did not inform the Equatoguinean government, was London involved?

Among the list of mercenaries is the name of Mark Thatcher, son of the ex-Prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who has been tried in absentia, while fighting extradition from South Africa to Equatorial Guinea.

Mark Thatcher is also going to stand trial in South Africa for violation of local mercenary laws. Why this sudden interest in Equatorial Guinea, of all places? Because of oil. One company heavily involved with the government of President Nguema, who has been accused of a dictatorial style of government and of embellishing the country's mineral resources, is Noble Energy, which has been allocated block I in Equatorial Guinea's offshore oil exploration operations. Noble Energy is based in the State of Texas, USA.

Noble Energy is pursuing operations in a joint venture with GEPetrol, owned by President Teodoro Nguema. Block I is expected to yield very positive results, since it is adjacent to the oil-producing Block O, also adjudicated to Noble, as was the Alba field, which has resources of one billion barrels of oil.

President Obiang has ruled the country since he took power in a military coup in 1979, since when he has placed family members in the most prominent political positions. Interesting. We have London retaining information about a cack-handed coup attempt and Washington doing deals with a dictator.

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