Demand for Thatcher arrest warrant.

Equatorial Guinea has requested international arrest warrants for Mark Thatcher and other British financiers accused of plotting to overthrow the government of the tiny oil-rich African nation, it emerged last night.

Deputy prime minister Ricardo Mangue Obama Nfube named Thatcher, along with financier Eli Calil and old Etonian Simon Mann, a former SAS operative and noted mercenary in Africa. But the government in Malabo has denied it had formally asked South Africa for the extradition of Thatcher, who is under house arrest there.

Prosecutors in South Africa have said Thatcher was preparing to leave the country for Texas with his wife, Diane Burgdof, a Texan heiress. Their two children were expected to fly out of the country tomorrow.

South Africa is, however, expected to resist any attempt to have Thatcher extradited to Malabo, because it opposes the death penalty, which remains in operation in Equatorial Guinea.

Guinea’s demands came as it emerged last night that both the Pentagon and MI6 were warned in advance about the prospect of a coup in the west African country.

The revelation will add to claims that Washington wanted the overthrow of President Obiang Nguema of Guinea, who has been blamed for human rights abuses.

Ninety men are now in custody in South Africa, Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe in connection with the alleged plot to depose Nguema.

[Source: By Brian Brady, The Scotsman, Scotland, 29Aug04]

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