A South African court has dismissed charges against eight suspected mercenaries accused of planning a coup in Equatorial Guinea in 2004.
President Obiang Nguema has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979
The judge in Pretoria said the state had not proved its case against the defendants - all South Africans.
Their lawyers had said South African officials had tacitly backed the failed plot. The government denies this.
The eight were among a group of men arrested in 2004 in Zimbabwe, allegedly on their way to Equatorial Guinea.
They were said to be purchasing arms in preparation ahead of a coup against Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of the former Spanish colony.
Sixty-one of the group returned to South Africa in 2005 after spending more than a year in a Zimbabwean prison.
The alleged coup leader, British former SAS officer Simon Mann, remained in Zimbabwe, where he was convicted.
He is serving a four-year prison term for buying weapons without a licence.
Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former UK Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, was fined and received a suspended sentence in South Africa for his involvement in the affair.
Twenty-three other suspected mercenaries have been convicted in Equatorial Guinea in connection with the coup plot.
President Obiang Nguema seized power himself in a coup in 1979.