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AFRICA/EQUATORIAL GUINEA - A mercenary at the head of the failed coup in Central Africa

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Posted on: 01/11/18
Malabo - There is a former high-ranking Chadian official with a past as commander of the Central African rebellion Seleka at the head of the attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea, thwarted by the authorities of Cameroon and Malabo at the end of December.
The authorities of Equatorial Guinea say that Mahamat Kodo Bani, this is the name of the former officer, led an attempt to infiltrate the Country, through the border with Cameroon.
On December 27, security forces of Cameroon arrested about thirty mercenaries, near d'Ebibeyin, on the border between Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Gabon, where at the beginning of January clashes were reported between the army of Malabo and other alleged mercenaries.
Among the men arrested by the Cameroonian security forces, as well as citizens of Equatorial Guinea, there are men from Chad, Sudan and Central Africa, Countries where Mahamat Kodo Bani often played an unclear role.
From 1990 to 2005 he was a general of the presidential security, the Praetorian Guard of Chadian President, Idris Déby Itno, and then joined the Union of the Forces for Change and Democracy , a Chadian rebel group based in Darfur, west of Sudan in 2008. Arrested in 2010 by the Chadian authorities, in 2013 Bani reappears in the Central African Republic as commander of Seleka, the rebel coalition that in March of that year overthrew President François Bozizé.
Seleka has long been suspected of being funded by Chad. Bani was then in charge of an undercover mission by his government to overthrow Bozizé.
Bani’s personal path and the presence among the arrested mercenaries of several Chadians is provoking embarrassment to the government of N'Djamena that sent its foreign minister, Mahamat Zen Cherif to Malabo, who condemned the failed coup, stating that this constitutes a threat to the whole Central African region.
In a statement the authorities of Malabo point out that Bani "committed the most serious crimes within the Seleka group. For this reason he is in the crosshairs of numerous organizations for the defense of human rights. But with the fall of Michel Djotodia , Bani hid himself and then re-emerged with the failed coup in Equatorial Guinea at the end of 2017".
Equatorial Guinea has been governed by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema since 1979. A Country rich in oil, the population lives in conditions of poverty.
However, the contours of the failed coup are not entirely clear. The opposition speaks of an "alleged coup" aimed at eliminating members within the ruling party, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea . Agenzia Fides, 10/1/2018)


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