Equatorial Guinea frees coup leader

Simon Mann, jailed for a failed coup plot, is pardoned with four others.

    Nick Du Toit, who collaborated with Mann, was also granted amnesty by the west African nation  [AFP]

    In a statement it cited Mann's need for medical treatment and to be with his family, adding he had "shown sufficient and credible signs of repentance and a desire to take his place in society".

    Mann must leave Equatorial Guinea within 24 hours and is banned from returning to the country, it said.

    Mann was arrested in March 2004 along with 61 other suspected coup plotters when their aircraft landed in Zimbabwe.

    The group had planned to overthrow Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea's president, who has ruled the country since 1979.

    Mann and Du Toit had set up Executive Outcomes, which operated from Pretoria in South Africa and helped the Angolan government to protect its oil installations from rebels during that country's civil war.

    Tuesday's announcement comes as Equatorial Guinea opens its presidential election campaign on Thursday.

    The vote is set for November 29 and Obiang Nguema is seeking another mandate.

    The former Spanish colony is Africa's third biggest oil producer after Nigeria and Angola following the discovery of large offshore oil deposits in the early 1990s, but the benefits have yet to trickle down to the people.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.