Clashes reported in Equatorial Guinea as government says it thwarted coup
Equatorial Guinea reported on Wednesday that it had foiled a coup but the announcement was overshadowed shortly afterward by reports of clashes near the border with Cameroon.
The clashes occurred after Security Minister Nicolas Obama Nchama said in a statement on public radio that an attempted coup against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Africa's longest-serving leader, had been mounted on December 24. 
Government troops had shot dead a "mercenary" and "used gunfire to disperse them in the forests along the border," state television TVGE said, without specifying how many "mercenaries" were involved or how long the clashes lasted.
Nchama alleged that the Christmas Eve coup attempt was led by foreign mercenaries recruited by political opponents.
"A group of Chadian, Sudanese and Centrafricans [citizens of the Central African Republic] infiltrated Kye Ossi, Ebibeyin, Mongomo, Bata and Malabo to attack the head of state, who was in the Koete Mongomo presidential palace for the year-end holiday," he said.
‍Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. /VCG Photo

‍Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. /VCG Photo

The "mercenaries... were recruited by Equatorial Guinean militants from certain radical opposition parties with the support of certain powers," the minister said.
The attempted infiltration had been repelled thanks to an operation carried out "in collaboration with the Cameroon security services," he said.
Sources told AFP that the country's ambassador to Chad had been arrested and was being held in a military camp.
The suspects, taken into custody in a bus on the border, had rocket launchers, rifles and a stockpile of ammunition, according to his office.
Equatorial Guinea is one of sub-Sahara's biggest oil producers but a large proportion of its 1.2 million population live in poverty.
Obiang, in power for more than 38 years, is accused by critics of brutal repression of opponents, electoral fraud and corruption.
Source(s): AFP