Equatorial Guinea fires security chiefs after clash

Equatorial Guinea’s president has sacked three senior security and defence officials a week after gunmen attacked the oil-producing country’s island capital, state media reported.
Reuters reports President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (pictured) fired his security minister and the vice-ministers for security and defence, and reshuffled six other senior posts responsible for protecting the volatile Gulf of Guinea state, state media said late on Tuesday.
The 17 February attack triggered several hours of fighting near the presidential palace. Obiang was away from Malabo at the time. His government accused militants from nearby Nigeria’s Niger Delta of mounting the attack.
Nicolas Obama Nchama was named as the new security minister while Julian Ondo Nkulu and Vicente Ella Olomo, were named vice ministers of security and defence, respectively.
At a rally meant to shore up national unity over the weekend, Obiang said that the authorities were aware of the identities of locals who had been helping the attackers by guiding them by telephone.
Obiang has ruled the former Spanish colony, which pumps around 380,000 barrels of oil per day, since he toppled his uncle in a palace coup in 1979.
Last week Spain said the attack appeared to be criminal in nature. Gunmen operating in the Niger Delta have become increasingly bold, launching a seaborne raid on banks in Bata, a town on Equatorial Guinea’s mainland, in December 2007.
Delta militants denied any role in last week’s attack.
Initial reports indicated the attack may have been an attempt to release soldier of misfortune Simon Mann who is currently serving a 34 year jail term in a Malabo prison along with a group of South African mercenaries.