BBC is reporting that the 70 alleged mercenaries seized in Zimbabwe are now being charged with conspiracy to kill Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of Equatorial Guinea. The men had previously been charged with violating immigration and firearms laws. None of those charges would merit the death penalty, which Zimbabwean foreign minister Stan Mudenge has threatened the men might face. It is possible that the conspiracy charge has been added so that one or more of the men could be charged with a capital crime. Their lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, describes the conspiracy charge as “fictional” and points out that, if a conspiracy took place, it occurred in South Africa where the flight originated and plans were made.
In the meantime, other nations are pulling their nationals out of Equatorial Guinea, including Ghana, which sent an air force plane to retrieve several dozen citizens and plans to evacuate more by sea. Hundreds of Cameroonians are also fleeing the country, reporting that they are being pressured out by the Nguema government.