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Vol 43 No 8

Published 19th April 2002

Equatorial Guinea

Purging again

President Obiang's latest coup plot looks like a pre-succession purge

Mass arrests, allegations of torture and public denunciations of dissidents mark President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's latest purge. For five years, he has told the world that his new, oil-rich, government wanted better human rights and more democracy, backing Western oil companies' claims that they had a positive influence on Africa's fastest growing oil-producer. Now Brigadier General (Retired) Obiang's regime has been handing out punishments as awful as those in the 1970s when he was Defence Minister under Francisco Macias Nguema, the uncle against whom he led a bloody coup in 1979. On 14 March, two founder-members of a clandestine opposition party, the Fuerza Democrática Republicana, and a leader of the registered Unión Popular, were arrested in Malabo after a visit to the mainland.

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