Heavy clashes between security forces and suspected mercenaries were reported on Wednesday, January 3, near the northeastern town of Ebibeyin, located near the borders with Cameroon and Gabon. According to army officials, at least one gunman – allegedly tied to a coup plot – was killed in the clashes.
Additional clashes are possible in Equatorial Guinea in the coming days and weeks.
On Wednesday, January 3, officials confirmed that security forces had successfully thwarted what Security Minister Nicholas Nchama stated was an attempt by radical opposition parties to stage a coup on December 27 and 28. According to Nchama, the plotters had hired mercenaries to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Cameroonian security forces reportedly assisted Guinean forces in detaining at least 30 heavily armed men over the border in Cameroon who were allegedly preparing to launch the coup attempt.
This was the second coup attempt thwarted in Equatorial Guinea since 2004 and came after recent legislative and municipal elections held on November 12, in which the Equatorial Guinean Electoral Commission declared the country's ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) the overall winner. The PDGE, led by President Obiang, won every seat in the Senate, control of all local town councils in the country, and all but one seat in the Chamber of Deputies. The opposition Citizens' Party for Innovation (CI) has claimed multiple incidences of electoral fraud. President Obiang, nearing 40 years in power, was re-elected to a fifth term in office in 2016.
Individuals present in Equatorial Guinea are advised to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.