34 Opponents Freed to Mark 50 Years of Equatorial Guinea Independence–But. . .

In what looks like a tropical paradise, press reports say that dictator Obiang of Equatorial Guinea has pardoned 34 members of the opposition party, among others, to mark the 50th anniversary of his country’s independence from Spain.

The main opposition party says many of those released have been tortured.

Equatorial Guinea: President Obiang frees 34 opposition figures

October 25, 2018

Since the discovery of considerable oil reserves in 1996, Obiang has come to preside over one of the main oil exporters in sub-Saharan Africa, but most of the 1.2 million inhabitants still live in poverty.

The leading opposition, the Citizens for Innovation (CI) party was banned on February 26. Twenty-one of its members, including the party’s sole MP, were subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison for “sedition, public disorder, attacks on authority and serious bodily harm.”

Obiang’s party has 99 of the 100 seats in parliament.

Another article on the subject of the pardon confirms that the one opposition Member of Parliament was among those released. They report he bears the scars of torture.

Equatorial Guinea releases 34 political prisoners, says opposition

October 22, 2018

Equatorial Guinea’s main opposition party said 34 of its members were freed from prison on Monday following a pardon from strongman ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema, but that many of them had been tortured.

Those released include Jesus Mitogo, the sole parliamentary deputy of the opposition Citizens for Innovation party which was dissolved in February.

“We are happy that our comrades have been released, although many of them bear the scars of torture,” the CI’s president Gabriel Nse Obiang told AFP.

Yes, news of the release of those opposition members is definitely good to hear.

But now from Voice of America News . . .

Rights Group Accuses E. Guinea Security Forces of Thrashing Leader

October 29, 2018

Activists in Equatorial Guinea alleged Monday that plainclothes security forces snatched and beat up the head of their human rights and development organization at the weekend.

Alfredo Okenve was “sequestered… [and] mistreated by security forces wearing civilian clothes”, the Center for Studies and Initiatives for the Development of Equatorial Guinea (CEID-GE) said in a statement….

. . . and 

Equatorial Guinea: Prominent Activist Severely Beaten

UN Experts Should Take Up the Case

 

. . .and this

Version 3

 

Just to prove dictator Obiang also goes after his own party and his own most trusted, here’s today’s (November 4, 2018) report out of Uganda.

Equatorial Guinea expels 42 ruling party members over coup bid

Obiang’s claim of an attempted coup is once again the stated reason for a purge:

November 4, 2018

Those expelled included a former ambassador, at least two former judges and the former head of security for President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Africa’s longest-serving leader.
They had collaborated with “a group of terrorists and mercenaries”, the party resolution said.

Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979 when he seized power from his uncle Francisco Macias Nguema.

Haunting Memories

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 50 years since we moved to Equatorial Guinea.

The sad country was just an 18-month-old infant. But anyone with an education beyond the 8th grade was already being brutally eliminated by Macias Nguema, its first president.

* * *

Thank you for visiting “Bee’s Articles” today. I’ve been doing some traveling and also booking additional speaking engagements. I’m glad to be back to share more about conditions in a place that is special to me. I love the place–I grieve for the people.

In my Articles, I share information about smallpox, and about Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Cameroon. And I sometimes give you a glimpse of my writing process and my journey toward getting my book out into the world.

My forthcoming historical memoir, VACCINES & BAYONETS: Fighting Smallpox in Africa amid Tribalism, Terror and the Cold War, reveals a time and place cut off from journalistic reporting. All newspapers and magazines were banned, journalists were denied visas, all mail was opened and read, and Spain made any mention of her former colony in the press a violation of its State Secrets Act.

Be watching for the next of “Bee’s Articles.” Stay connected.

 

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