Equatorial Guinea authorities detain 6 French soldiers

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Six French soldiers were arrested on Thursday in Bata airport, the economic capital of Equatorial Guinea , after their helicopter was forced sat down for refueling, told news agency AFP representative of the Army of France.

“They sat down on We-dnesday at 14.15, because they ran out of fuel. Then a series of bureaucratic delays began … We are at the stage of negotiations (with the authorities – ed.), We encountered an incident that is already familiar to us. They are holding the helicopter and the crew.” – said Colonel Pascal Ianni, spokesman for the French army headquarters. He added that the crew is still awaiting take-off clearance.In turn, the State Television and Radio of Equatorial Guinea (TVGE) said that the helicopter without permission was in the airspace of the country and landed, thereby violating the border.

A French military source, meanwhile, told the agency that the military “had all the necessary permits,” but that “coordination problems with the airport” and the dispatcher often arise.

A French military spokesman denied that the case could be related to “espionage” by France.

According to the agency’s data, an unarmed Fennec helicopter was detained, it provided a logistic connection between the Cameroonian city of Douala and the capital of Gabon, Libreville, where the French military base is located.

According to the agency, the military was detained the next day after a court in Paris announced a verdict against the vice president of Equatorial Guinea and the son of the current president of the country, Teod-oro Nguema Obiang Man-ge.

The court upheld its previous verdict. In February 2020, Teodoro Obiang was sentenced to three years probation and a € 30 million fine for illegally acquired property in France.