Equatorial Guinea dismisses ambassador after thwarted 'coup'
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang, Africa's longest-serving leader, dismissed the country's ambassador to Chad on Tuesday, weeks after authorities said they had thwarted an attempted coup.
Ambassador Enrique Nsue Anguesomo was removed due to "irregularities committed in the exercise of his functions," and stripped him of his rank of police colonel, according to two decrees read out on state television.
The dismissal comes after the oil-rich country was put on alert earlier this month after reports of a putsch mounted by foreign mercenaries on December 24, according to government officials.
State broadcaster TGVE also reported clashes with "mercenaries" near the border with Cameroon, but that they had been stopped.
Anguesomo was arrested in Ebibeyin on December 30 while on holiday, according to one of his relatives.
He is being held at Balack Beach Central Prison in Malabo, the capital, according to security sources.
Obiang, 75, seized power in 1979 and has faced a string of coup attempts during nearly four decades in office.
Critics accuse him of brutal repression of opponents, electoral fraud and corruption.
Formerly a small Spanish colony, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Sahara's biggest oil producers but a large proportion of its 1.2 million population lives in poverty.