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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 09:50 GMT
Equatorial Guinea deports hundreds
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
President Obiang has ruled his country for 24 years
There is no let up in a crackdown on immigrants in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea after coup plot allegations.

With reports continuing of insecurity and harassment, hundreds of foreigners are being deported.

Ghana's authorities have flown home 77 of its citizens over the weekend, with a naval vessel expected to depart on Monday to bring home more evacuees.

Several hundred people have been shipped by the authorities to the port city of Limbe in south-west Cameroon.

Meanwhile, police in the Cameroonian city of Douala have prevented demonstrators from breaking into the consulate of Equatorial Guinea in protest against deportations of Cameroonian nationals.

About 100 protesters destroyed a car said to have belonged to the consulate.

Coup 'absurd'

A number of suspected mercenaries were arrested last week, accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea.

TV footage of US-registered plane detained by Zimbabwe
A plane impounded in Zimbabwe was believed to be heading to Equatorial Guinea
The group was linked to the arrest of a plane load of other suspected mercenaries in Zimbabwe last weekend.

But a South African released from Equatorial Guinea told a South African newspaper that the group in Malabo were all legitimate businessman and the coup charges were "absurd".

Johan Espag told The Star newspaper that the group had been discussing farming and fisheries projects.

"Half the island is run by foreign businesses, so why these guys out of thousands of other 'strange' foreigners would be singled out as mercenaries is a mystery to me," he said.

Government troops were out in force in the capital last week and stationed outside foreign embassies.

The head of Equatorial Guinea's self-proclaimed government in exile, Severo Moto, who lives in Spain, has insisted he knows nothing about any alleged coup plot.

Mr Moto, the leader of the opposition Progressive Party, said the government of Teodoro Obiang Nguema was trying to implicate him in the plot.

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