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Zimbabwe says it seized U.S.-registered plane

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by Boss Hog, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. Boss Hog

    Boss Hog TRIBE Member

    Zimbabwe says it seized U.S.-registered plane
    Minister says plane carried 64 alleged mercenaries

    Monday, March 8, 2004 Posted: 10:07 AM EST (1507 GMT)

    HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe has seized a U.S.-registered cargo plane with 64 suspected mercenaries of various nationalities and a cargo of "military materiel," Home Affairs (Interior) Minister Kembo Mohadi said on Monday.

    "A United States of America-registered Boeing 727-100 cargo plane was detained last night at about 1930 hours (12:30 ET) at Harare International Airport after its owners had made a false declaration of its cargo and crew," Mohadi said in a statement.

    "The plane was actually carrying 64 suspected mercenaries of various nationalities," he said, adding that an investigation had also revealed "military materiel" in the cargo.

    Mohadi said fuller investigations were under way to establish the identity of the men and the nature of their mission. There was no word on where the airplane arrived from, or whether Zimbabwe was its destination.

    Mohadi said a fuller statement would be released "in due course."

    Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Harare could not be reached for comment.

    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been engaged in a bitter war of words with both the United States and Britain, which have accused him of a political crackdown following his victory in the 2002 presidential elections, which the opposition and Western observers said were flawed.

    Mugabe in turn accuses Western powers of attempting to undermine his government in retaliation for his controversial seizure of white-owned farms for distribution to landless blacks.

    Once one of the most prosperous countries in southern Africa, Zimbabwe now faces regular shortages of food, fuel and foreign exchange as well as soaring rates of inflation and high unemployment.

  2. derek

    derek TRIBE Member

    mmm....hired terrorists working for the u.s.. who would've thought:rolleyes:
  3. Brandon

    Brandon TRIBE Member

    I love mercenaries.
  4. 416

    416 TRIBE Member

    I wonder if there where any ninjas on that piece?
  5. Boss Hog

    Boss Hog TRIBE Member

    Just Self Excel
  6. silver1

    silver1 TRIBE Member

    When asked for a comment, one of the mercenaries said, "I hate it when a plan doesn't come together"

  7. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    Haha! Stupid US terrorists!
  8. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    The 64 suspected mercenaries are currently imprisoned in Zimbabwe and are expected to appear in court on Thursday.

    The Zimbabwean authorities have warned they could face the death penalty if found guilty.

    The men - said to be Angolans, South Africans and Namibians - were detained after their plane was impounded on Sunday evening at Harare International Airport.

    A senior executive from the company that chartered the plane said they were going to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo to work as security staff at the mines.

    He said they stopped in Harare to pick up cheap mining-related supplies.


    Although previously registered in the US (many planes in Africa are used) it had been sold some time ago. No weapons were actually found on the plane, and the men were on the payroll of a South American mining firm.

    Hired guns to protect private corporate interests are very normal in this area of the world. Now according to Mugabe (one of the most disliked leaders in the world right now especially in Britain and the USA) and his integrators they are a coup force.

    So why would I believe him, he has a very long history of never telling the truth.
  9. derek

    derek TRIBE Member

    fair enough; still it would be interesting to see who trained these mercenaries.


  10. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member


    All of them have served in there respective national militaries before. Again very common as this is one of the few proffessions for former military members outside of the police force which is normally filled through corruption.
  11. whatwaytoturn

    whatwaytoturn TRIBE Member

    Why would you believe either leaders of the US or Britain who also have a similar track record? Why would you believe foreign mining corporations who also have a long track record of, and direct interest in, propping up corrupt African leaders, who need to hire a privatized military because of the obvious pillaging they're doing? (Barrick Gold comes to mind)

    The fact of the matter is if there is corporate interest in an area, that's more than enough motive to 1. overthrow a leader that's not in line with it. 2. Destroy any alternative to the status quo in the region even if only mildly successful.

    Why is it hard for you to read between the lines. To me, it’s elementary that if American & British are hostile towards any leader, it's not because of his atrocious human rights records or that he’s a liar, it's because the leader is somehow working to change the status quo within the country which lessens American & British corporate access to it. I mean really! History confirms this all over the place -that they much prefer iron fisted corrupt juntas ruling country over a democratically elected one any day!
  12. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

  13. Aeryanna

    Aeryanna TRIBE Member

    Couldn't have said it better myself
  14. Boss Hog

    Boss Hog TRIBE Member

    This question is as old as this forum.
  15. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    The men behind the 'Guinean plot'

    BBC News Online looks at what is known about the alleged mercenaries being held in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea.

    Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has said that all 64 men detained after their plane was impounded in Harare were African.

    Zimbabwe state television described them as mostly white, "heavily-built males".

    According to Mr Mohadi, Simon Witherspoon - referred to as a "known South African mercenary" - was the leader of the group.

    He is reported to be a former member of the South African Defence Force, who joined the now defunct mercenary company Executive Outcomes (EO) in 1989.

    The minister said that Mr Witherspoon had operated in various countries in Africa including the Ivory Coast.

    Another EO member - former British SAS officer, Simon Mann - has been named as a "co-conspirator".

    He is said to have met the plane at Harare International Airport.

    'Buffalo Battalion'

    Details about the rest of the group are sketchy.

    Angolan and South African diplomatic sources have said the suspects in Harare could be former members of the disbanded South African army unit, the "32 Buffalo Battalion".

    "All that we know is that these the Angolans among the alleged mercenaries belonged to the former Buffalo Battalion," Angolan Foreign Affairs Minister Joao Miranda said.

    The "Buffalo Battalion" operated during the apartheid era and was made up of foreign soldiers, many of them from Portuguese-speaking countries.

    The unit fought in Namibia and Angola in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Executive links

    Of the 15 suspected mercenaries held in Equatorial Guinea, Nick du Toit has been presented as the group's leader.

    He appeared on Equatorial Guinea state television saying that the men had been part of a plot to remove President Teodoro Obiang Nguema and put an exiled opposition leader in power.

    Mr Du Toit - identified on television as a 48-year-old South African - is reportedly a former member of a South African reconnaissance unit.

    He is also said to have links with Executive Outcomes.

    EO was initially based in South Africa. In the 1990s, it was paid by the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, to assist the Angolan army in regaining control of the Soyo oilfields from Unita rebels.

    It was later involved in supporting the Sierra Leone Government in its attempts to defeat rebels.

    The company closed when South Africa introduced its Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act - which prohibits the involvement of South Africans in mercenary activities abroad without due authorisation - in 1999.

    But a South African security analyst told The Star newspaper that the three former EO members working together suggests that the company could be operating again.


    Little is known about the rest of the group, other than South Africans are believed to be among them.

    The incident has caused much embarrassment for the South African government.

    The Foreign Ministry has said any of its citizens involved in mercenary activities are in "serious breach" of the Foreign Military Assistance Act.

    It is disturbing to hear that "every time" the world dealt with mercenaries, South Africans were among them, Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.

    "We definitely do not like the idea that SA is a pool for mercenaries."


    23 Angolans
    20 South Africans
    18 Namibians
    Two Congolese
    One Zimbabwean with a SA passport


    Sorry this looks like the work of various groups within Africa itself. It has a histroy within africa, leadership and money within africa and an objective within africa.

    My first assumption is not of American or British involvement. Not suggesting that they don't have interests in it, just that this appears to be more of an african nature.

    6 degrees of seperation, you can more or less prove that an american, a brit and a canadian are involved in anything if you look far enough. It doesn't mean thast they are significant or that it is part of a greater governmental conspiracy. Just a reality of our involvement in all things related to shipping, farming and mining.

    Again the facts are pointing in a different direction than your speculation. the history of Equatorial Guinea also points in a different direction than the speculation and more in the direction of actual facts.
  16. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Equatorial Guinea: Ripe for a coup
    The BBC's Virginia Gidley-Kitchin tries to piece together the story behind the alleged involvement of mercenaries in a coup plot in Equatorial Guinea.

    The West African state of Equatorial Guinea has been awash for weeks now with rumours of trouble brewing.

    But events seem to have come to a head.

    On Sunday, the authorities in Zimbabwe impounded a plane which flew in from South Africa with 64 alleged mercenaries on board.

    What exactly they were up to wasn't clear - particularly as they didn't have any actual weapons with them.


    But on Tuesday, Information Minister August Nse Nfamu claimed that 15 more mercenaries had been arrested in his country and that they were an advance party for the group detained in Zimbabwe.

    He said their aim was to overthrow and kill Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

    The president then went further, declaring that the alleged coup plot had been funded by what he called enemy powers and multinational companies.

    Then in a BBC interview, Justice Minister Ruben Mangue, pointed the finger specifically at a leading exiled politician, Severo Moto, head of the opposition Progress Party.

    For its part, the Progress Party denied involvement in any such plot.

    Mr Moto said the president was just trying to damage his reputation.

    "I have absolutely nothing to do with this story. I believe that once again in the face of my announcement of my return to Equatorial Guinea, President Obiang has become nervous and of course he has no trouble plotting and preparing traps like this in order to tarnish my political career and really keep the population on tenterhooks".

    Old tricks?

    It is not the first time that the government of Equatorial Guinea has alleged its political opponents were plotting to overthrow it.

    Such allegations have sometimes coincided with the run-up to elections and led to the arrest of opposition politicians - and another opposition leader, Bakale Celestino, claims that, with local elections coming up in April, the government is up to its old tricks again.

    But some Equatorial Guinea-watchers think that this time the rumours may be correct.

    Patrick Smith, the editor of Africa Confidential magazine, says there isn't any evidence, but military sources in South Africa "are absolutely categorical that the South African soldiers on that plane to Zimbabwe on Sunday were involved in the Equatorial Guinea adventure".

    He says they also claim that Severo Moto had a series of discussions with the Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, with a view to getting recognition, were he to succeed in overthrowing the Obiang government.

    Patrick Smith says that in recent months, there's been a lot of unease within the Equatorial Guinean military, particularly over the succession issue.

    "It is felt that President Obiang's health is not good, and that should he die precipitously, there would be a bloody struggle to succeed him. And one of the key characters likely to lead that struggle would be his son, Teodorin, who is heartily disliked by many other people in the Equatorial Guinea military.

    Explosive mix

    Justice Minister Ruben Mangue says that rumours of a power struggle are commonplace everywhere but - he insists - completely untrue.

    "The president has just been elected last year for seven years. The president is healthy... it is not serious to talk about the succession to the president now".

    It may be too early to know where the truth lies. But Anthony Goldman, Africa analyst for Clearwater Research Services, says that the sudden arrival of oil wealth in what until a few years ago was one of the poorest countries in the world has "created an explosive mix" in Equatorial Guinea.

    "It's had an unfortunate passage of dictatorships from the colonial period and then after independence - regimes of unparalleled brutality even in Africa.

    "In the 1970s a third of the population were killed or fled into exile under the regime of Masias Nguema. His nephew seized power in 1979, promising to liberalise the country.

    "And although now in theory it's a multi-party democracy, opposition supporters, diplomats and a number of human rights activists maintain that it remains a dictatorial regime, fuelled now by the arrival of oil," he says.

    It may be no coincidence that, again according to Anthony Goldman, Equatorial Guinea has long had the image of being the kind of small, sleepy place where a handful of mercenaries could quickly seize power.

    If so, it seems that the country's image is now out of date.


    Its not that I can't read between the lines, its that I have been reading between the lines for three days and have a different opinion. My reading between the lines suggests that the 64 men captured are patssies of no real political value, they were never meant to actually overthrough the government, only to create the appearance of it. Mugabea doesn't have the resources to have stopped this without ebing part of it.
  17. whatwaytoturn

    whatwaytoturn TRIBE Member

    Are you serious? The group is made up of mostly white men, headed by former members of the 32 Buffalo Batalion, a pro apartheid anti-leftist military group founded by Britain, led by mostly British, Portuguese, Rhodesians, and Americans with a long history of overthrowing regimes.

    I think you're being disingenuous. Although a nice technique to provoke critical thought, arguing a viewpoint backed by extremely marginal evidence does not give off an impression of unique insight.
  18. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    Ditto, given that you've obviously got some understanding of African history, why would you think that the racial profiles of the plane's occupants correlate in any way to the governments implicated in this scandal?

    The Americans and Europeans have had their grubby little hands in the African honey-pot since 1890. The irony of that statement, given the number of hands that were lopped off the African natives by Europeans for not meeting quota.

    It's kinda like saying that because Osama isn't American, the Americans weren't involved.
  19. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Actually I thought they were all balck, where dfid you get that from?

    I'm not providing any unique insight. I'm saying flat out that there are african armed coups that are african in nature. Thaqt greed and overthrowing governments in the sake of greed is the halmark of politics in eastern africa and the great horn especially.


    Care to give me a brief history on it and then comment on Mugabea one last time...
  20. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    They aren't racial profiles, they are countries of origin plane and simple. So far the best link to the Americans provided in this thread is the fact that a plane used was once registered in the USA. I suggest that there are domestic african issues at play here additionally that this is a tried and true method of creating public support at home (*staging your own coup, something that has happened twice in recent memory in Equatorial Guinea).

    Is Europe and America inheritly involved in everything in the world... sure.

    Do we have to consdider them guilty in every plot by default until proven otherwise.... NO!!!

    I can still read the facts and they point to a very different conspiracy.

    I'm not washing american corporate hands of all the past evil or future evil they will commit. I'm not washing europes hands for there actions over the last 500 years. However Africans learnt how to play the exact same game and with perfectly state controlled media they do it even better at times. This one is internally motivated and not externally preasured two different beasts.
  21. fleaflo

    fleaflo TRIBE Member

    Greed and overthrowing gov'ts in the sake of greed is the hallmark of politics all over the world. The very assumption that it is any more corrupt in Eastern Africa than any other part of the world is nonsensical.
  22. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    From the man who was telling me to read between the lines and blame the americans with exactly 0 evidance.

    Look if you want to pin this on the americans and on the brits back it up. I'm saying it isn't and backing up my points with something beyond read between the lines!!
  23. whatwaytoturn

    whatwaytoturn TRIBE Member

  24. whatwaytoturn

    whatwaytoturn TRIBE Member

    The article YOU posted makes a nice mention of the influence of ex members of the 32 Buffalo Batallion. Spend part of the NEXT 3 days reading up on them, what they've been involved in, who they're made up of/led by, and who's dirty work they do.
  25. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    With the exception of Italy governments last there terms in the western world. African countries simply don't have this track record. Militarty coups don't happen elsewhere in the world with anywhere near the frequency.

    East Africa is far more corrupt, this isn't personall opinion, its one of the major arguments of NEPAD and the UN.

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