Africa, Politics

Equatorial Guinea pardons Mann. Why? That’s a good question

Equatorial Guinea pardons Mann. Why? That’s a good question

Mercenary leader Simon Mann has been pardoned by the leader of Equatorial Guinea. The question now: what is the nature of the deal behind his release?

Simon Mann and four South African mercenaries have been pardoned by Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the oil-rich West African nation’s President, and will shortly be free.

Eton-educated Mann was ringleader of a coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea involving Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher Jnr pleaded guilty in a South African court of funnelling about R1,7-million through a Free State-based air ambulance outfit, in an “unwitting” bankrolling of the 2004 coup attempt. He was fined, given a suspended sentenced and left SA pronto.

Nguema came to power in a 1979 coup in the former Spanish colony, which he runs like a personal fiefdom. This makes one wonder what has gone on behind closed doors, despite Nguema’s obligatory “full pardon for humanitarian reasons”. Mann’s freedom has parallels with the recent release of the only person convicted for Libya’s infamous 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing, which British authorities have reluctantly admitted involved major trade and oil deals. So, just what are the Brits and South Africans promising for Mann’s release?

It’s amazing how regularly the sons of French and British politicians find themselves involved in illegal African dramas. The apple of former French President Francois Mitterand’s eye, Jean-Christophe, was recently sentenced for his part in $800-million of Angolan arms trafficking. Like Thatcher junior he was even luckier than Mann; he didn’t spend so much as five minutes in a tropical jail.

Read more: AP, Voice of America


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options