- Jun 25, 2007
Naamini kuna wengi mlishasikia kuhusu kesi hii... pia naamini wengi bado mnaifatilia. It is fascinating to know what dirty business went on behind the coup. Below are profiles of some of the culprits... Please read on....
Source link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/may/09/equatorialguinea.worldThe cold-blooded blue blood
Simon Mann used his wealthy background to reach the highest levels of society and was ruthless in exploiting them for material gain
guardian.co.uk,Tuesday June 17 2008
Simon Mann, who goes on trial in Equatorial Guinea today, is an Old Etonian adventurer who has spent most of his decidedly mixed career in the murky world of special forces and mercenaries.
His privileged background is in stark contrast to his current residence Black Beach prison in Malabo, the capital of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, where he stands accused of launching a failed coup in 2004.
Simon Mann. Photograph: AFP/Getty
Mann's establishment pedigree is impeccable: his father George captained the England cricket team in the late 1940s and was heir to the Watney's brewing empire.
After Sandhurst, Mann joined the Scots Guards, but soon hungered for something more.
He passed the gruelling selection procedure for the SAS at the first try and became a troop commander in 22 SAS, specialising in intelligence and counter-terrorism. He served in Cyprus, Germany, Norway, Canada, central America and Northern Ireland.
At this stage, it was the perfect establishment career and he was not out of place among the dukes and earls of White's, London's oldest club, where he was a member.
But in 1981 he left the army. A former colleague said: "I think he wanted a new challenge, and after a while some people find army life a little bit mundane."
Mann began his post-army freelance career quietly enough, selling supposedly hack-proof computer software. But he soon moved into the security business, reportedly providing bodyguards to wealthy Arabs to protect their Scottish estates from poachers, before briefly being persuaded back into uniform in 1990 to serve on British Gulf war commander Sir Peter de la Billiere's staff in Riyadh.
In 1993 he set up a mercenary outfit, Executive Outcomes, with the controversial entrepreneur Tony Buckingham. It made a fortune protecting oil installations from rebels in Angola's civil war.
In 1995, when EO became too high profile, he set up an offshoot, Sandline International, with another ex-Scots Guard, Lt-Col Tim Spicer, and shipped arms to Sierra Leone in contravention of a UN embargo.
An estimated £5m made, Mann step down a gear.
According to the land registry, he bought Inchmery, a former residence of the Rothschild family, in 1997, in the name of Myers Developments Inc, a firm registered in the offshore tax haven of Guernsey. Under the advertisement, "Is this the most beautiful beach house in the country?" he then rented it out and moved to Cape Town.
Already a father of three children from two previous marriages, Mann had another three with his new wife, Amanda, and settled at 18 Duckitt Avenue, a Cape Dutch gabled house in Constantia, a secluded suburb beloved by British expatriates such as Earl Spencer and Mark Thatcher. Mann went fishing, bought sculptures and threw dinner parties for a small set of friends.
There was also an appearance in a gritty television reconstruction of Bloody Sunday in which he agreed to play the part of Colonel Derek Wilford, commander of the paratroopers who fired on marchers in Derry. In 2002, Mann told the Guardian he took the part to defend the army, though he admitted Bloody Sunday was a "cock up".
Mann then embarked on a monumental blunder himself by becoming involved in a plot against Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the tyrant who has ruled the small west African nation of Equatorial Guinea since 1979, and who pockets vast profits from offshore oil drilling.
Together with a group of 60 mercenaries, Mann was arrested in March 2004 when their private plane landed at Harare airport. The mercenaries denied plotting to topple Equatorial Guinea's government and claimed they were flying to the Congo to provide security for the diamond industry.
Mann and the rest of the group were put on trial in Zimbabwe and on August 27 2005, Mann was found guilty of attempting to buy arms for an alleged coup plot and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Sixty-six of the other men were acquitted.
Thatcher was embroiled in the plot and pleaded guilty in South Africa to unwittingly funding a purchase of an aircraft allegedly linked to the mercenaries.
He was given a four-year suspended sentence and fined £265,000, after entering into a plea-bargain deal.
Despite Mann's hopes that he might be released by Zimbabwe, he was sent to Equatorial Guinea at the end of January this year. His lawyers accused Zimbabwean officials of a criminal conspiracy in secretly flying him out of the country before his appeals procedure was finished.