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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 July, 2003, 00:30 GMT 01:30 UK
Equatorial Guinea's "God"
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
President Nguema is serving a third seven-year term

State radio in the tiny west African state of Equatorial Guinea has hailed the nation's leader as "the country's God".

In a programme called Bidze-Nduan (Bury the fire) which deals with "peace, tranquillity and the order reigning in the country" the radio declared that President Teodoro Obiang Nguema was "in permanent contact with the Almighty".

He can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to hell because it is God himself
State radio announcement
Equatorial Guinea

It said that the president was "like God in heaven" who has "all power over men and things".

The BBC's reporter in Malabo, Rodrigo Angue Nguema, says a large proportion of the national population listens to state radio and that there are no newspapers in the country.

President Nguema won the 2002 presidential elections by almost 100% to serve a third, seven-year term.


"He can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to hell because it is God himself, with whom he is in permanent contact, and who gives him this strength," a presidential aide announced on the show.

The radio show, which claims to "inform and mobilise the masses on issues of national interest", has warned against any attempt to disrupt the peace and order which, it said, had reigned since President Obiang, 61, took power in a coup 23 years ago.

The remarks were made in a weekly programme presented by the presidential aide and broadcast in Fang, the language used by the majority ethnic group, which makes up 80% of the population of about 500,000.

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