Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Wednesday, 20 April 2005 13:50 UK

Concern over E Guinea politician

Severo Moto
Equatorial Guinea says Spain wanted Moto to take over

Spain is "concerned" at reports that Equatorial Guinea's opposition leader has gone missing, a minister has said.

Severo Moto lives in exile in Spain and the Equatorial Guinea government says he was behind a coup plot last year.

Spanish newspapers report that he was last seen in Croatia last month but an official from his party said he had spoken to Mr Moto eight days ago.

A court in Equatorial Guinea sentenced 19 people, including Mr Moto, to jail over the coup plot in November.

Other alleged mercenaries are in prison in Zimbabwe, while Sir Mark Thatcher, son of the former UK prime minister, has pleaded guilty to unknowingly helping to finance the plot to seize power in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.

Spain's secretary of state for foreign affairs Bernardino Leon said his officials were working hard to locate Mr Moto.

Last week, human rights group Amnesty International said that at least 70 people in Equatorial Guinean prisons faced death by starvation, including those sentenced over the coup plot.

Amnesty said the trials were unfair.

Before the trial, the Equatorial Guinea government said that Spain had backed the coup plot - charges denied by Spain.

Prisoners 'starving' in E Guinea
14 Apr 05 |  Africa
Court blocks E Guinea coup case
06 Apr 05 |  Africa
Zimbabwe to free 'mercenaries'
03 Mar 05 |  Africa
SA keen to shed mercenary image
13 Jan 05 |  Africa
Timeline: E Guinea coup plot
03 Nov 09 |  Africa
Q&A: Equatorial Guinea 'coup plot'
26 Oct 04 |  Africa

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