Mann back in Equatorial Guinea – to work for leader he tried to oust

Simon Mann's incarceration in a brutal prison for attempting to overthrow one of the most notorious dictators in Africa was turned into an international cause célèbre in a long and vocal campaign by family friends.

The former SAS officer is now free and has just taken up his first proper "day job" since his release: working for that very same ruler he was determined to depose, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.

At the time of the bungled coup in 2004, Mr Mann is said to have declared to his friends that he was helping to deliver the people of the benighted nation from the depredations of their appalling leader, who had been accused, among other things, of being a cannibal.

Sceptics accused the Old Etonian adventurer of being much more interested in the rewards he could gain in a country which had one of the largest deposits of oil in the continent.

It remains unclear at just what point Mr Mann decided that President Obiang, who had himself come to power through a coup, was not such a bad chap after all and was someone he could do business with. There were signs pointing towards the change of heart at Mr Mann's trial, when he repeatedly attacked fellow conspirators such as Mark Thatcher, and insisted that he was being treated well in jail. After he was released from prison 33 years early (from a 34-year sentence), he insisted that he had been treated "like a guest, not a prisoner".

Since then, Mr Mann has not made any public comments, supposedly at the strong request of the Foreign Office, which helped obtain his pardon from President Obiang.

However his wife, Amanda, in an interview with Tatler magazine, described the President as a "lovely, lovely man".

This is not a view shared by the President's victims and human rights groups. Amnesty International strongly condemned the execution of four opponents three months ago following a trial it described as "a travesty".

The main opposition coalition described the executions as "political assassinations". Amnesty's Africa director, Erwin van der Borght, said: "Equatorial Guinea must put an end to the abductions, torture and executions it currently carries out under the pretence of justice."

Mr Mann has refused to say what exactly his advisory role for Mr Obiang would entail. Jeff Gordon, a private security consultant who has worked in Africa, said: "Presumably one thing Obiang does not want to seek advice from Mann on would be how to stage a coup. What Mann and his guys tried to do in Equatorial Guinea was one of the worst-kept military secrets ever. People were standing in bars in Jo'burg and Cape Town openly taking about what was going off. Few people were surprised when it ended in such a disaster."

Mr Mann and President Obiang are also said to have been liaising over a defamation case in Lebanon brought against them by Eli Calil, a businessman accused by the Equatorial Guinea regime of financing the plot to take over the oil-rich nation. Mr Calil has denied any involvement.

According to associates, Mr Mann has cultivated strong ties, in particular, with Jose Olo Obono, a former attorney-general who, while in office, brought the charges against him, along with those against many others in what have been described as political trials.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power