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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 17:05 GMT
Equatorial Guinea on coup alert
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
President Nguema was "tipped off" about the coup attempt
Troops have been out on the streets in a security clampdown in Equatorial Guinea after reports of an alleged coup attempt.

Spain's La Razon newspaper reported that President Teodoro Obiang Nguema had been tipped off that there was a plan to depose him.

It said the embassies of Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana and Nigeria in the capital Malabo were surrounded in order to prevent anyone seeking refuge in them.

A number of foreigners staying at hotels were also reportedly arrested.

According to the paper, the government believed mercenaries had arrived in the country to support the coup attempt.

It reported an increased military presence in Malabo with fewer people on the streets.

The country's Information Minister Augustin Nze Nfumu told the BBC that there has been a police operation against foreigners.

But he denied that African embassies had been surrounded.

A BBC correspondent in the capital said the army, navy, police and paramilitary units have been involved to an unprecedented degree.

Equatorial Guinea is one of the most secretive and repressive states in Africa and reliable information often emerges very slowly from the country.

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