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Suspected Terrorists in Court (Mercenaries in Africa)
AllAfrica ^ | March 23, 2004

Posted on 03/24/2004 2:45:29 AM PST by witnesstothefall

THE 70 suspected mercenaries who were arrested in Harare early this month in connection with the foiled coup in the Equatorial Guinea yesterday appeared briefly before a court convened at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

The suspects, who are facing five charges under the Public Order and Security, Firearms, and Immigration Acts, were not asked to plead when they appeared before magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe.

They were remanded to April 13, when their lawyers are expected to make an application for refusal of remand.

The suspects, made up of 10 whites, two coloureds and 58 blacks all clad in new prison garb, drew the attention of the people who thronged the prison to witness the proceedings, as they walked from the cells to the special court.

They were walking in pairs, with their hands and legs shackled. They sat in court in rows with most of them grinning all the time as they engaged in discussions with their lawyers, before the proceedings started.

Mrs Mary Zimba-Dube of the Attorney General's Office read the indictments to the court.

On the first count, Mrs Zimba-Dube told the court that the suspected mercenaries were charged with breaching the Public Order and Security Act, which provide a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment on conviction.

She alleged that in June 2003, Simon Francis Mann was contracted by Severo Moto, an exiled opposition political leader from the Equatorial Guinea, to assist him in toppling the current president of that country by a violent coup.

She alleged that Mann and Nick Du Toit, who is still at large, recruited 69 men with military backgrounds to carry out the task.

The 70 suspects allegedly conspired and agreed to possess dangerous weapons, which were to be used in carrying out the task.

In furtherance of their agreement, it is alleged, they underwent vigorous refresher courses in weapon handling and urban warfare.

On February 10 this year, Mann and Du Toit came to Zimbabwe Defence Industries and purchased dangerous weapons that included 61 AK rifles, 300 offensive hand grenades, 45 000 AK ammunition rounds, 20 PKM light machine guns, 30 000 PKM ammunition rounds, 100 RPG 7 anti-tank launchers, two 60mm mortar tubes, 5 080 60mm mortar bombs, 20 Icarus flares, 500 boxes of 7.62 by 54mm ammunition, 1 000 boxes of 7.62 by 39mm ammunition, 1 000 rounds of RPG anti-tank HE ammunition and 50 PRM machine guns.

The State further alleged that on March 6 this year, Mann, Laurens Jacobus Horne and Jacob Hermunus Carlse came to Zimbabwe as an advance team to finalise the collection of the dangerous weapons that were going to be collected on the following day.

On that day, it is alleged the remaining 67 suspects aboard a Boeing 727 aircraft marked N4610 landed at Harare International Airport to collect the weapons.

"Before they could conduct pre-loading inspection of the weapons, the accused were arrested. The accused unlawfully attempted to possess the aforesaid weapons," said Mrs Zimba-Dube.

Under the Firearms Act, the suspects face two counts. They were charged with conspiracy to purchase and possess firearms without a firearm certificate and conspiracy to purchase and possess ammunition without a certificate.

It is alleged the suspects conspired to carry out a coup in the West African state and arranged and purchased arms from the ZDI in Zimbabwe.

On March 7 the plane belonging to Dodson Aviation, South Africa left Pelokwane Airport in South Africa for Zimbabwe. On board were three crew members and 64 passengers, the State alleges.

It is alleged that on arrival at Harare International Airport, the suspects refuelled their plane and proceeded to Manyame Airbase where they intended to collect arms and ammunition that included 10 Browning pistols and 20 Icarus flares.

According to the State, the arms and ammunition had been purchased on February 10 by Mann and Du Toit. Mann was not aboard the plane, but had come to Zimbabwe in March as part of the advance team with Carles and Horne.

The three - Mann, Carles and Horne - are facing separate charges for allegedly planning to acquire the weapons, arm the mercenaries and proceed to Equatorial Guinea to launch the coup.

It is alleged that they failed to show firearms certificates for the arms and ammunition, when they were asked to do so upon their arrest.

For breaching the Immigration Act, the suspects are facing charges of "entering or assisting any person remaining in or departing from Zimbabwe and making false statements".

The 67 men who were aboard the plane that was impounded by security authorities are from Britain, South Africa, Angola, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and one Zimbabwean.

It is alleged the crew had no manifest of passengers and they falsely gave out that they were carrying cargo.

They also misrepresented to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe that there were only three crew members and four loaders on board, the State alleges

The passengers, alleged the State, had specific instructions to switch off the lights after landing, remain still and not to allow people to enter the plane to avoid detection.

"As a result of false declaration, the passengers and crew members managed to enter Zimbabwe without the knowledge of immigration officials," said Mrs Zimba-Dube.

"Investigations have revealed that the 64 passengers were mercenaries on their way to Equatorial Guinea to carry out a coup d'etat. The accused also purchased and attempted to acquire ammunition and firearms from Zimbabwe Defence Industries without a firearm certificate."

The suspects were also charged with contravening the Aviation (Air Navigation) Regulations, by allegedly making a false statement or declaration to a CAAZ official.

The proceedings were conducted at Chikurubi following a High Court ruling on Monday that the maximum security prison was the only compromise venue for such a case.

Mr Jonathan Samkange of Byron Venturas and Partners represented the 70.

Earlier on, Mr Samkange told the court that his clients were assaulted by the military police on the day they were arrested.

He, however, said he had no complaints against the police and the prison authorities, who he said had treated his clients well.

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: africa; carlse; dutoit; equatorialguinea; guinea; horne; laurens; mann; mercs; simonfrancismann; zimbabwe
This reads like a Frederick Forsyth novel.
1 posted on 03/24/2004 2:45:30 AM PST by witnesstothefall
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To: witnesstothefall
From the mountain highlands of Pakistan, the low land basin in Iraq and the jungles of Africa, war brings people from all over the globe to have some fun and adventure. Just when I thinking of the follow up to this story, your thread popped on FR.
2 posted on 03/24/2004 3:16:50 AM PST by endthematrix (To enter my lane you must use your turn signal!)
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To: witnesstothefall

See also the article there on MERCS, BOLT CUTTERS AND A BRIGHT ORANGE DINGHY...

3 posted on 03/24/2004 6:10:43 AM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
Zimbabwe -- Cathy Buckle -- Of bolt cutters and an orange boat
Letters from Cathy Buckle ^ | 13th March 2004 | Cathy Buckle

Posted on 03/13/2004 6:01:30 AM PST by Clive

Dear Family and Friends,

Events in Zimbabwe this week have left us all open mouthed and shaking our heads in disbelief, surprise and shock. Every day and every hour the talk has been of mercenaries, conspiracies, terrorists and coup plots. No one seems to be able to explain why an aeroplane landed in Harare with people, described by local television as "burly, heavily built men" of assorted nationalities. At first the talk was of 64 mercenaries, later in the week it became 67. Reports as to what these men were doing here varied from collecting mining equipment to guard mines in the DRC, to buying guns and planning to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. None of the facts were clear and nothing became clearer as the week wore on.

On one day the Zimbabwe government talked of the UK, US and Spain being involved in a plot to overthrow an African government, and on another day the Minister of Foreign Affairs talked of capital punishment for the 67 men. Night after night our television screens have shown the same footage again and again of the cargo on board the aeroplane. There were radios and cellphones, loud hailers and bolt cutters, one very large sledge hammer and one very small pepper spray, sleeping bags, trousers, white shirts and something which the newsreader called a bright orange dinge. This turned out to be an inflatable dinghy and when it was all put together, it made for a most peculiar cargo for men who at first were called mercenaries and terrorists by the State media but these terms were soon preceeded by the words alleged and suspected.

On Friday, speaking to BBC radio, the lawyer appointed to represent the 67 men said that he had still not spoken to most of his sixty odd clients because the police had not been given clearance by "higher authorities" to allow interviews to be conducted. Also on Friday, on the front page of what is now Zimbabwe's only daily newspaper, the State owned Herald, the plot thickened. The Herald reported that an 8 man team had arrived in the country from Equatorial Guinea to "exchange notes" about the 67 men. The Herald chose a strange assortment of words to explain the total confusion and said that the police and Attorney General's office were "continuing with investigations and the framing of charges." By the end of the week, when Spain was reeling after the horrific bombs in trains in Madrid, our propaganda mill had turned the mercenary story and the weird cargo around. The crawl line on the bottom of the TV screen read: "Zimbabwe is against terrorism," and still we watched film footage of bolt cutters, one pepper spray and a sledge hammer.

While the conspiracy theories abounded and Zimbabwe was featured on most international news channels it was a tragedy that the story that really should have been making world news was lost. A report was issued by The Zimbabwe Institute in Cape Town which revealed utterly horrific facts and figures about opposition politicians in Zimbabwe. 50 opposition MP's and 28 parliamentary candidates were interviewed and between them 616 incidents were documented. More than 90% of the MP's had experienced jail, violence and threats; 25% had survived murder attempts; 42% reported having been physically assaulted and 16% reported that they had been tortured whilst in police custody - with electric shocks to the genitals and beatings on the soles of their feet. The Zimbabwe Institute report stated that of the 616 incidents, half had been blamed on police, army and the CIO and the other half on men calling themselves war veterans and members of Zimbabwe's youth militia. Most shocking of all was the statement that not one single perpetrator had been arrested, charged or tried for any of the 616 incidents.

So, while the mercenary plot thickens, life on the ground for Zimbabwe's opposition politicians continues to be a time of personal terror.

Until next week,with love, cathy.

4 posted on 03/24/2004 6:12:34 AM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: witnesstothefall
Sounds like this might be the Executive Outcomes mercenary group or certainly a similar group.

Perhaps this is just a typo but considering the West's general intellectual laziness who can tell. The town is supposed to be spelled: Polokwane which was formerly known as Pietersburg. Named after Boer General Petrus Joubert.

There was a lot of controversy & resistance among the descendents of the Voortrekkers settlers of the town when the name of the town was changed.

Though I wrote a clarification to some points in the above linked article.

I would think that the decade long increased killing of white farmers (mostly of Boer descent) which has made the Boer farmer the most at risk group for murder in the world would be considered much more of a threat to the atmosphere of racial reconciliation.

Just one problem. The town of Pietersburg was not named during the Apartheid era. The town was named in 1884 when it was part of the independent Transvaal Republic (also known as the South African Republic) named after a famous Boer General Petrus (Piet) Joubert. Joubert ran for president of the Transvaal Republic 3 times, but lost each time to Paul Kruger. Joubert wanted to incorporate the Outlanders (Britons) & the Zulus into the Transvaal Republic. Not exactly Apartheidesque.

Which is not such a stretch. The northern border of the province is the Limpopo River. Which was called the Limpopo River all through out the Apartheid era.

Polokwane. Not Pelokwane as written in the article posted at the top.

Depending on one's version of when the Apartheid era was -this statement could be considered erroneous. While segregationist laws existed in South Africa since its inception in 1909 when the South Africa Act established an all white Parliament: many assert that Apartheid (grand) began in 1949 after the election of Daniel Francois Malan's Reunified National Party & the establishment of the first of the more expansive segregationist laws started during his rule. The so called " Apartheid era" flag the article refers to was adopted in 1927.

The so called Apartheid era flag came about as a result of a compromise between Boers / Afrikaners & English speakers. Since it features the Prince Flag (of the Netherlands) -also called the Van Reibek Flag- < link. > / the inverse British Union Jack < link. > / & the two Boer Republic flags of the Transvaal Republic < link. > & the Orange Free State. < link. >.

Not surprising since this is where most of the Xhosa nation lives. This is the area where (the former independent homelands of) the Transkei & Ciskei were located.

After all: this is part of the region where the Boers trekked the furthest north in their desire to escape British colonialism during the nineteenth century. The town of Pietersburg is one of the most northern towns in South Africa established by these Voortrekker Boers. Which the article as well as most Westerners tend to lump in with the term Afrikaner (which was popularized during the early twentieth century) which includes Afrikaans speakers who were not Voortrekkers & hence did not trek from the Cape into the north.

5 posted on 03/24/2004 7:08:28 AM PST by Republic_of_Secession.
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To: witnesstothefall; Squantos; Travis McGee; archy
Damn, du Toit is a legend in African Spec Ops. Hope he gets out of this okay
6 posted on 03/24/2004 7:17:22 AM PST by TEXASPROUD
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Incidentally: Afrikaans names Du Toit / Joubert / De Klerk & Malan (like many other Afrikaans names) are French as their ancestors were French Huguenot refugees.

7 posted on 03/24/2004 7:26:56 AM PST by Republic_of_Secession.
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Damn, du Toit is a legend in African Spec Ops. Hope he gets out of this okay

Agreed. But something doesn't add up here. Ten handguns and 61 AKs, okay. And 20 PK medium machineguns, one for every three AK-equipped grunt? Granted, the PK is more usually found at the platoon level, not the squad or fireteam, but they may have wanted some serious force multipliers, not unusual for a raiding or mercenary force, or may have wanted some extra guns for vehicle mounts- okay, I can maybe see that.

But a hundred RPGs? More than they were to have rifles and MGs combined? Unless they were expecting an additional force with small arms but no AT weapons waiting for them or planning to reinforce them later, that doesn't quite sound right.

And what in the foggy blue morning is a *PRM* machinegun? It may be a designation for something more generally known by another name, but I sure can't place it. Then there's the ownership of Boeing 727 N4610, and the little detail of that owner's best previous African customer....


8 posted on 03/24/2004 7:52:04 AM PST by archy (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT! Done dirt cheap! Neckties, contracts, high voltage...Done dirt cheap!)
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To: archy
Dodson Aviation.
9 posted on 03/24/2004 7:59:01 AM PST by TEXASPROUD
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What the hell were they thinking, to land in Zim???
10 posted on 03/24/2004 8:16:01 AM PST by Travis McGee (----- -----)
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Dodson Aviation

Dodson Aviation: Boeing 727# 83-4610 . . . Ex-commercial 727-100 operated by ANG 4610 (c/n 18811) was formerly B-727-035 N4610 of National Airlines. National merged with Pan American and aircraft named 'Clipper Pathfinder'. Purchased by USAF Aug 21, 1984. Sold Jan 11, 2002 to Dodson International Parts, inc and then to Dodson Aviation Jan 14, 2002. Registered to Dodson Aviation as N4610. Seized by Zimbawean authorities for carrying suspected mercenaries and military equipment. Dodson supposedly had sold the plane to a South African company, Logo Ltd. U.S. point of departure: Hope Air Force Base in North Carolina...

Dodson Aviation African customer relations, DC3/C47 65-TP Turboprop conversions.

11 posted on 03/24/2004 8:18:10 AM PST by archy (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT! Done dirt cheap! Neckties, contracts, high voltage...Done dirt cheap!)
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To: Travis McGee
This seems to be one of those deals that backfired. Someone, in Mugabe's administration gave approval for ZDI's involvement(Zimbabwe Defense Industries). Evidently someone didn't get their cut, and they let slip something to CIO.
12 posted on 03/24/2004 8:37:48 AM PST by TEXASPROUD
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To: archy
It will be interesting on how this plays out.
13 posted on 03/24/2004 8:38:42 AM PST by TEXASPROUD
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To: TEXASPROUD; spatzie; hookman
It will be interesting on how this plays out.

Indeed., the domain of Executive Outcomes, is still registered and forwards into, the website of Northbridge Services Group, Ltd:

Northbridge Services Group founders have identified through their cumulative experiences in various first world armed forces, government agencies, and the private sector, a growing demand for a highly discrete, totally reliable yet cost effective service provider.

The Company's personnel consist of highly decorated individuals who have, in aggregate, more than 200 years of operational service predominantly in Special Forces therefore can guarantee a truly international blend of experience, pedigree and speciality.

Our Services: Humanitarian Operations

One of Northbridge Services Group's most important roles is participating alongside Governments and Aid Organisations in Humanitarian Support Operations. Depending on the situation Northbridge Services Group has the expertise to assist in:

• Securing strategic assets - water, food, electricity, key installations

• Convoy escorts

• Humanitarian and disaster relief command and co-ordination

• Mine clearance

• Protection of Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) personnel

• Medical support at all levels

• Air support

• Peacekeeping

14 posted on 03/24/2004 8:48:11 AM PST by archy (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT! Done dirt cheap! Neckties, contracts, high voltage...Done dirt cheap!)
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To: witnesstothefall; spatzie; hookman
This reads like a Frederick Forsyth novel.

Freddy Forsythe was a Reuters correspondent in Biafra during the Ibo-uprising/ Biafran War for Independence/ Nigerian Civil War, Sept 1966- 15 Jan 1970. He saw a thing or two in his time.

15 posted on 03/24/2004 8:58:24 AM PST by archy (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT! Done dirt cheap! Neckties, contracts, high voltage...Done dirt cheap!)
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