Equatorial Guinea had planned to involve Russia in providing security in the country, but failed to reach a deal as it also wanted possible assistance in a coup against the incumbent President.
According to EU Reporter, the authorities in Equatorial Guinea have failed to negotiate a contract with Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organisation.
A few days ago, Vice-President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of the President of Equatorial Guinea, arrived incognito to Moscow. According to some reports, his trip was aimed at concluding a security deal with Wagner Group.
The issue of finding partners is reportedly urgent as never before for this African country. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is looking for supporters to overcome growing difficulties as Western countries have imposed numerous sanctions against the country's leadership. In particular, the UK froze the accounts of Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo and banned him from entering the country in July. His property, a $100 mln mansion in Paris and a $38 mln private jet, were also previously sanctioned.
Observers say that the situation in the West African country has been seriously deteriorating for several months. It faced an economic crisis as oil prices fell last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March this year, an explosion at a military base in the town of Bata killed at least 20 people and injured more than 500. The official media blamed it on careless storage of dynamite but investigative journalists believe that sabotage is a more credible explanation.
Experts agree that the President of Equatorial Guinea is interested precisely in the Russian Wagner Group mercenaries from the CAR for logistic reasons and Wagner Group experience in fighting potential enemies of Equatorial Guinea. It is believed that it was exactly the mercenaries from Chad and the CAR behind the last coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea in 2017 who were successfully countered by the Central African Army with the assistance of Russian instructors in 2021.
It is currently known that the talks have collapsed, and details have already become public. According to Vanguard journalists, the Guineans were trying to involve the Russians in their own political intrigues.
During his visit to Moocow Teodoro Obiang might have spoken about illegal transit of power from his elderly father. The presence of Russian instructors can provide him with a guarantee to gain full power in the country as soon as possible. According to information received by journalists, this did not satisfy the representatives of Wagner Group and they refused to negotiate further.
The controversial reputation of the Vice-president may speak for the fact that he is pursuing his own agenda through this project. His social media accounts are filled with pictures of expensive cars and other objects of flashy luxury. For example, the pair of Michael Jackson gloves encrusted with precious stones cost $275,000. The Vice President, flaunting wealth while ruling over one of the poorest countries in the world, where people live on the brink of famine and often lack access to basic social services, does not look like the right person to discuss strategic questions with.
Russia has achieved success in establishing relations with several African countries in recent years, wrote EU Reportrer experts. Moscow effectively supports its partners in terms of security in the region. For instance, Russian experts successfully trained the local armed forces and police in the Central African Republic. As a result, the Central African army inflicted a crushing defeat on extremist units, prevented a coup d'etat and took control of the territories previously seized by the militants.
Paris is desperately clinging to influence in its former African colonies. However, states that were once part of the French empire are spiralling out of its control one by one.