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Canada Equatorial Guinea: The six soldiers selected at a released airport, Paris apologizes

11:20  31 july  2021
11:20  31 july  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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Six French soldiers were detained at the Bata airport in Equatorial Guinea on Thursday morning while stopping to refuel their helicopter, according to the French military and local media. The six , who the army said were still awaiting authorisation to take off, were detained a day after a Paris court upheld the conviction of the central African country’s Vice President Teodorin Obiang for accumulating luxury “National authorities do not rule out that this incident could be a spy operation and provocation on the part of Paris ,” TVGE reported. But Ianni said the landing had nothing to do with espionage.

On Thursday, Equatorial Guinea 's state radio TVGE reported that the helicopter had landed without authorisation. The reports also said that the six soldiers were questioned at the central police station in Bata. "National authorities do not rule out that this incident could be a spy operation and provocation "We stop regularly in Bata but we also regularly have coordination problems with the Bata airport ," the source said, adding that "the control tower in an excess of zeal does not give permission to land." The helicopter, an unarmed Fennec model, was making a logistical flight between Cameroon's economic

Entrée de l'aéroport international de Bata en Guinée équatoriale. (Image d'illustration) © Wikimédia Common / Und Universidad Nacional de Educación A Distancia Entrance to the Bata International Airport in Equatorial Guinea. (Illustration image)

The six French soldiers as well as the helicopter that had been held since Wednesday at the Bata airport, the economic capital of Equatorial Guinea, where they had laid down their device to refuel, were allowed Leaving the territory Friday night, confirmed the French army at RFI.

The six French soldiers had to land urgently in Bata Wednesday afternoon. Since then, they had been selected in the Guinean Economic Capital, the authorities accusing them of espionage . According to the Department of Civil Aviation, the helicopter, type Fennec, had not to allow overflight and landing at Bata airport. Paris assured from its side that their device was just short of fuel. An incident that had occurred shortly after the final condemnation by Teodorin Obiang Nguema , vice-president and son of the Guinean president, for spending France nearly 150 million euros diverted into his country.

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Equatorial Guinea has detained a French military helicopter, with the vice president claiming it landed without authorization after violating the African state's airspace. France has denied any wrongdoing. The helicopter was carrying six unarmed French soldiers , according to a statement from French military spokesman Colonel Pascal Ianni cited by Reuters. Ianni denied that France had any intent to harm Equatorial Guinea . “The authorities in Equatorial Guinea decided to detain the helicopter.

The six , who the army said were still awaiting authorisation to take off, were detained a day after a Paris court upheld the conviction of the central African country’s Vice President Teodorin Obiang for accumulating luxury properties with illegally obtained funds. That is when a sequence of administrative nuisances began,” French army spokesman Pascal Ianni told AFP, adding that negotiations with local officials were underway. The reports also said that the six soldiers were questioned at the central police station in Bata. “National authorities do not rule out that this incident


Video: Six French soldiers arrested in Guinea-Equatorial. (Euronews)

"This incident, I regret it. He took place because of two technical mistakes on our part, and it must be recognized because we make mistakes. We are fortunate to have an annual overview authorization. It is an honor and a gesture of friendship that we make Equatorial Guinea. But this authorization provides that it should notify 72 hours before landing. For reasons of poor organization, this notification did not take place. There was a second mistake: the authorization we have, and which is there to allow our security forces to cooperate precisely, this authorization is for a number of aircraft identified with numbers. For technical reasons, the helicopter that was identified on this list had to benefit from repairs and this is another helicopter that came to Bata. And it was a helicopter whose identification was not on the authorization list. As an ambassador, I wish to apologize to the government and the authorities of Equatorial Guinea, if these errors have sparked misunderstandings. On Friday night, the French army confirmed to RFI that the six soldiers as well as the helicopter who were selected in Equatorial Guinea, had finally been able to land in Libreville, Gabon. "End of the incident", ensures the spokesperson for the staff of the armies.

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usr: 3
This is interesting!