Equatorial Guinea accuses France of espionage attempts

Six French soldiers are detained at Bata airport. Malabo accuses France of undermining its security.

A few hours after the condemnation of its vice president, Equatorial Guinea accused France of having tried to undermine the country’s security, after a French army helicopter landed at the airport of Bata without authorization.

The national authorities do not exclude that this military incident is an operation of espionage and provocation on the part of Paris, reported the Equato-Guinean TV station TVGE.

Six French soldiers on board the aircraft were held on Thursday July 29 at the airport in Bata.

Responding to Malabo’s accusations, Colonel Pascal Ianni, spokesperson for the Chief of Staff of the French Armies said that if the helicopter landed in Bata, the economic capital of Equatorial Guinea, it is simply because it ran out of fuel during a mission between Douala (Cameroon) and Libreville in Gabon.

“We are in a negotiation phase with the local authorities. We are facing an incident such as we have already experienced,” Colonel Pascal Ianni said, adding that the engine was unarmed and so were the soldiers.

This incident comes less than 24 hours after the final conviction in France of the vice-president Teodorin Obiang, who is the son of the country’s President, in a case of “ill-gotten gains” for having laundered nearly 150 million euros in France.
Malabo deemed the conviction illegal.

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