https://www.avionslegendaires.net/2021/ ... uatoriale/THE CREW OF A FRENCH FENNEC DETAINED AGAINST THEIR WILL BY EQUATORIAL GUINEA.
The affair now turns to the diplomatic confrontation between Paris and Malabo.
This Wednesday, July 28, 2021 in the afternoon,
a Eurocopter AS.555 Fennec helicopter belonging to the Air and Space Army
landed for a technical stopover on the military part of Bata international airport in Equatorial Guinea .
Since then the helicopter and its six occupants have been held back by the power in place
while the state media are now talking about an aerial spy flight .
It could be a retaliatory measure by this small oil and gas producing state against French justice.
We will obviously pass on the total absurdity of the accusation relayed by Equatorial Guinea television.
The Eurocopter AS.555 Fennec is indeed a tactical liaison and reconnaissance machine but under no circumstances
would the Air and Space Army or a fortiori a French intelligence service engage it in a mission.
France has General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drones which would do the job much better in total discretion.
In fact, it seems that public television TVGE has just tried to galvanize public opinion by relaying a totally erroneous statement.
On the facts we are sure at present that the helicopter is attached to the Air Group of EFG, the French Elements in Gabon.
He was on a liaison flight between the Cameroonian city of Douala and its base in Libreville.
Operating with a duly completed flight plan and having all the necessary authorizations,
the aircraft was forced to make a technical stopover
in order to refuel at the military part of the Equatorial Guinea airport of Bata, in the mainland of the Equatorial Guinea.
Six French soldiers were on board, crew and passengers together.
For obvious security reasons, the Ministry of the Armed Forces as well as the Quai d'Orsay have not communicated on their identity,
their ranks, or even their sexes.
Because what is now confirmed is that these six soldiers are being held against their will!
So as we briefly demonstrated above to consider the Fennec as a spy helicopter is totally stupid!
The reason for this restraint of six of our compatriots by an African state which is not deemed to be an ally of France,
but so far not hostile either,
is therefore to be sought elsewhere.
And the elsewhere in question could be on the Ile de la Cité in Paris: at the seat of the court of cassation.
The highest French court confirmed just hours before the seizure of the helicopter and the arrest of its crew
a February 2020 appeal conviction of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, said Teodorin, to a sentence of 36 months in prison.
suspended sentence, thirty million euros fine and the confiscation of all his property
seized for “laundering of misuse of corporate assets, embezzlement of public funds and breach of trust”.
These facts were committed between 1997 and 2011.
Except that Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue is not just anyone in Equatorial Guinea:
he is the vice-president and son of the current dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in power since August 1979.
For the record, he had overthrown his uncle, also dictator,
the autocrat Francisco Macías Nguema before having him shot after a parody of trial.
You will have understood it all looks especially like a big money affair.
Except that when a third state forcibly retains the military of a foreign power without valid reason,
all that does not necessarily go in the direction of international law.
You should know that the technical stopover in Bata is regular for EFG helicopter crews.
This supply was therefore nothing unusual.
Moreover, it does not always take place in the best conditions.
Until then, however, our soldiers had never been forcibly detained.
In Paris, it is therefore the Ministries of the Armed Forces and of Foreign Affairs which manage the operation.
But make no mistake, in view of the gravity of the Equatorial Guinean action,
the diplomatic instructions come from the Elysee.
At the time of writing, we have no information on a possible release of our fellow citizens.