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Margaret Thatcher's son arrested over coup plot
The Jerusalem Post ^ | August 25, 2004 | Staff

Posted on 08/25/2004 3:04:55 AM PDT by MadIvan

South African police arrested Mark Thatcher, the son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, early Wednesday on allegations he was involved in a plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea, police said.

Police spokesman Sipho Ngwema said Thatcher was arrested at his Cape Town home and is expected to be charged with violation of the foreign military assistance act.

"We have evidence, credible evidence, and information that he was involved in the attempted coup," said Ngwema. "We refuse that South Africa be a springboard for coups in Africa and elsewhere."

Eight South Africans, six Armenians and four Equato-Guineans are currently on trial in Malabo for the alleged coup attempt in March. The alleged plot mastermind, South African Nick du Toit, faces the death penalty and the others lengthy terms of imprisonment.

Another 70 men are on trial in Zimbabwe for offences there related to the alleged coup bid.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: africawatch; coupplot; equatorialguinea; southafrica; thatcher
More about this -

Equatorial Guinea: Ripe for a coup

The BBC's Virginia Gidley-Kitchin tries to piece together the story behind the alleged involvement of mercenaries in a coup plot in Equatorial Guinea.

The West African state of Equatorial Guinea has been awash for weeks now with rumours of trouble brewing.

But events seem to have come to a head.

On Sunday, the authorities in Zimbabwe impounded a plane which flew in from South Africa with 64 alleged mercenaries on board.

What exactly they were up to wasn't clear - particularly as they didn't have any actual weapons with them.

Plot

But on Tuesday, Information Minister August Nse Nfamu claimed that 15 more mercenaries had been arrested in his country and that they were an advance party for the group detained in Zimbabwe.

He said their aim was to overthrow and kill Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

The president then went further, declaring that the alleged coup plot had been funded by what he called enemy powers and multinational companies.

Then in a BBC interview, Justice Minister Ruben Mangue, pointed the finger specifically at a leading exiled politician, Severo Moto, head of the opposition Progress Party.

For its part, the Progress Party denied involvement in any such plot.

Mr Moto said the president was just trying to damage his reputation.

"I have absolutely nothing to do with this story. I believe that once again in the face of my announcement of my return to Equatorial Guinea, President Obiang has become nervous and of course he has no trouble plotting and preparing traps like this in order to tarnish my political career and really keep the population on tenterhooks".

Old tricks?

It is not the first time that the government of Equatorial Guinea has alleged its political opponents were plotting to overthrow it.

Such allegations have sometimes coincided with the run-up to elections and led to the arrest of opposition politicians - and another opposition leader, Bakale Celestino, claims that, with local elections coming up in April, the government is up to its old tricks again.

But some Equatorial Guinea-watchers think that this time the rumours may be correct.

Patrick Smith, the editor of Africa Confidential magazine, says there isn't any evidence, but military sources in South Africa "are absolutely categorical that the South African soldiers on that plane to Zimbabwe on Sunday were involved in the Equatorial Guinea adventure".

He says they also claim that Severo Moto had a series of discussions with the Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, with a view to getting recognition, were he to succeed in overthrowing the Obiang government.

Patrick Smith says that in recent months, there's been a lot of unease within the Equatorial Guinean military, particularly over the succession issue.

"It is felt that President Obiang's health is not good, and that should he die precipitously, there would be a bloody struggle to succeed him. And one of the key characters likely to lead that struggle would be his son, Teodorin, who is heartily disliked by many other people in the Equatorial Guinea military.

Explosive mix

Justice Minister Ruben Mangue says that rumours of a power struggle are commonplace everywhere but - he insists - completely untrue.

"The president has just been elected last year for seven years. The president is healthy... it is not serious to talk about the succession to the president now".

It may be too early to know where the truth lies. But Anthony Goldman, Africa analyst for Clearwater Research Services, says that the sudden arrival of oil wealth in what until a few years ago was one of the poorest countries in the world has "created an explosive mix" in Equatorial Guinea.

"It's had an unfortunate passage of dictatorships from the colonial period and then after independence - regimes of unparalleled brutality even in Africa.

"In the 1970s a third of the population were killed or fled into exile under the regime of Masias Nguema. His nephew seized power in 1979, promising to liberalise the country.

"And although now in theory it's a multi-party democracy, opposition supporters, diplomats and a number of human rights activists maintain that it remains a dictatorial regime, fuelled now by the arrival of oil," he says.

It may be no coincidence that, again according to Anthony Goldman, Equatorial Guinea has long had the image of being the kind of small, sleepy place where a handful of mercenaries could quickly seize power.

If so, it seems that the country's image is now out of date.


Mark Thatcher has long been noted for being inconsiderate to his mother. Her health is bad, getting involved in this nonsense was particularly ill-timed on his part.

Regards, Ivan


1 posted on 08/25/2004 3:04:55 AM PDT by MadIvan
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To: Alkhin; KangarooJacqui; EggsAckley; dinasour; AngloSaxon; Dont Mention the War; Happygal; lainde; ..

Ping!


2 posted on 08/25/2004 3:05:21 AM PDT by MadIvan (Gothic. Freaky. Conservative. - http://www.rightgoths.com/)
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To: MadIvan

Is this the same bloke that got lost in the desert a few years ago?


3 posted on 08/25/2004 3:20:38 AM PDT by Happygal (Liberals - fully au fait with their 'rights', utterly ignorant of their responsibilities)
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To: MadIvan
Mark Thatcher has long been noted for being inconsiderate to his mother.

Is it just me, or am I being reminded of a certain Reagan son here for a REASON?

Just goes to show, eh... the best of us, can have the worst of kids. Whether that works in reverse, is an experiment I've never been game to try for myself.

Perhaps there is wisdom in the not having kids bit, after all. Just a thought...
4 posted on 08/25/2004 4:47:25 AM PDT by KangarooJacqui (http://www.RightGoths.com - Gothic. Freaky. Conservative. Got a problem with that?)
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To: MadIvan

Caution

It's worth remembering that the ANC hates Margaret Thatcher for her alleged closeness to the old South African government - she resisted imposing sanctions on the regime for many years

This incident may be genuine, or it may simply be a settling of old political scores


5 posted on 08/25/2004 5:37:35 AM PDT by mmartins
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To: mmartins
I don't think it is; Mark Thatcher is the bad boy of the family, really, and this sounds about right. She's had to restrain him a few times.

Regards, Ivan

6 posted on 08/25/2004 5:39:31 AM PDT by MadIvan (Gothic. Freaky. Conservative. - http://www.rightgoths.com/)
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To: KangarooJacqui
Is it just me, or am I being reminded of a certain Reagan son here for a REASON?

It is not just you. I see another reason Maggie and Ronnie had for their bond---nutty progeny.

7 posted on 08/25/2004 5:55:24 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: mmartins
This incident may be genuine, or it may simply be a settling of old political scores

Either way, this has to be hard for Lady Thatcher. She has my prayers.

8 posted on 08/25/2004 6:07:45 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (Sorry, Mr. Kerry....In the parlance popularized by your wife, you can just "shove it.")
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To: MadIvan
If I were in just about any country in Africa right now, including South Africa, and some guy named "Ngwema" started spouting off about the need for justice and enforcing the law, then as a white, I would begin edging toward the door. It's not called the law of the jungle for nothing ya' know.
9 posted on 08/25/2004 6:28:53 AM PDT by finnigan2
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To: MadIvan
Every story I see out of Africa convinces me more and mroe that they just can't govern themselves. Is there any sub-saharan African country that's not a basketcase?

Maybe it's time to recolonize (after we finish with the mideast)

10 posted on 08/25/2004 6:58:09 AM PDT by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: John O
Every story I see out of Africa convinces me more and mroe that they just can't govern themselves. Is there any sub-saharan African country that's not a basketcase?

Botswana. They have a growing economy, a stable government and seem to be doing all right.

Uganda to a lesser extent because they have an extraordinary President in Yoweri Musaveni. He was the only African leader to tell Bill Clinton off during the latter's 3 Hankie Farewell To Africa Tour.

Regards, Ivan

11 posted on 08/25/2004 7:00:17 AM PDT by MadIvan (Gothic. Freaky. Conservative. - http://www.rightgoths.com/)
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To: KangarooJacqui

" Is it just me, or am I being reminded of a certain Reagan son here for a REASON? "

Beat me to it ! Where did Ron and Margaret go wrong ?


12 posted on 08/25/2004 7:38:07 AM PDT by sushiman
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To: MadIvan

good to know. Thanks. Perhaps there's hope for Africa yet.


13 posted on 08/25/2004 8:57:25 AM PDT by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: MadIvan; wretchard; section9; Clive; Travis McGee; Dog; dead; Dog Gone; Sabertooth; blam

Obiang's Intel services are underrated. He managed to capture *all* of the mercenaries (64 captured in Zimbabwe) headed for his country *before* they even reached Guinnea. His counter-coup services arrested all of the plotters (in South Africa) and smeared his chief local opposition leader.

You can hate him for being a ruthless dictator sitting on top of a sea of oil, but you've got to respect that his Intel is stopping plots before they even make it into his own country.

5 Legislative Days Left Until The AWB Expires

14 posted on 08/25/2004 9:11:34 AM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Happygal
"Is this the same bloke that got lost in the desert a few years ago?"

Are you sure that he was "lost," or was that the only excuse he could come up with?

5 Legislative Days Left Until The AWB Expires

15 posted on 08/25/2004 9:12:34 AM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Southack

I'm not sure that the coup was detected by Obiang's intel or whether is was South African agents who alerted him. The story didn't get a whole lot of coverage here in America.


16 posted on 08/25/2004 9:26:39 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone

There were arrests in Guinea (local opposition), Zimbabwe (the mercenaries), and South Africa (the plotters).

That's a coup that was completely compromised by someone's Intel.

Yes, South Africa or Zimbabwe could have been doing Obiang's work for him, but my money says that Guinea did it with its own assets.

5 Legislative Days Left Until The AWB Expires

17 posted on 08/25/2004 9:29:28 AM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: MadIvan
South African police arrested Mark Thatcher, the son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, early Wednesday on allegations he was involved in a plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea, police said.

Why would he want to do that?
Things must be pretty boring these days in Merry Ol' ...

18 posted on 08/25/2004 9:31:19 AM PDT by Publius6961 (I don't do diplomacy either.)
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To: MadIvan
Was he driving his Coup de Ville?

--------------------------------
To print out and wear as a Campaign Button, go HERE. Feel free to reuse this anywhere you wish...

19 posted on 08/25/2004 9:34:44 AM PDT by sonofatpatcher2 (Texas, Love & a .45-- What more could you want, campers? };^)
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To: KangarooJacqui
Just goes to show, eh... the best of us, can have the worst of kids.

No, my friend: kids do not happen, they are raised. And if you raised the worst, you are not best.

It is a wise thought on your part not to have kids until you understand that point and are strong enough to exercise a combination of love and leadership -- that's what it takes to raise them.

20 posted on 08/25/2004 10:29:39 AM PDT by TopQuark
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To: cyncooper
"Ronnie" does not strike me as even a decent, let alone good, parent. He was a good governor and president, buy a lousy parent.

Even Nancy says that he was very aloof and there were parts of him that she could never reach. That, incidentally, may explain in part their great love to each other.

21 posted on 08/25/2004 10:32:36 AM PDT by TopQuark
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To: sushiman
Where did Ron and Margaret go wrong ?

Some people that so much love their countries, ideas, or professions have nothing left for in them to love people.

22 posted on 08/25/2004 10:35:40 AM PDT by TopQuark
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To: TopQuark

Whatever


23 posted on 08/25/2004 10:43:36 AM PDT by cyncooper
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To: cyncooper
Whatever

It is this kind of reply that reveals some posters to be great thinkers. Thank you.

24 posted on 08/25/2004 10:46:33 AM PDT by TopQuark
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