The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs, and a Ruthless Determination to Create Mayhem in an Oil-Rich Corner of Africaby Adam Roberts
Equatorial Guinea is a tiny country roughly the size of the state of Maryland. Humid, jungle covered, and rife with unpleasant diseases, natives call it Devil Island. Its president in 2004, Obiang Nguema, had been accused of cannibalism, belief in witchcraft, mass murder, billiondollar corruption, and general rule by terror. With so little to recommend it, why in March 2004 was Equatorial Guinea the target of a group of salty British, South African and Zimbabwean mercenaries, travelling on an American-registered ex-National Guard plane specially adapted for military purposes, that was originally flown to Africa by American pilots? The real motive lay deep below the ocean floor: oil.
In The Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth effectively described an attempt by mercenaries to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea in 1972. And the chain of events surrounding the night of March 7, 2004, is a rare case of life imitating artor, at least, life imitating a 1970s thrillerin almost uncanny detail. With a cast of characters worthy of a remake of Wild Geese and a plot as mazy as it was unlikely, The Wonga Coup is a tale of venality, overarching vanity and greed whose example speaks to the problems of the entire African continent.
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Meet the Author
Adam Roberts is a staff correspondent of The Economist. For four years he was the publication's Johannesburg bureau chief, reporting from Madagascar, Congo, South Africa, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone andillegallyfrom Zimbabwe, as well as from many corners in between. He has also reported from South- East Asia, the Balkans, Europe and the United States. A former student of international politics at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, he is now based in London.
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