The two main parts of Equatorial Guinea, the
mainland and the island of Bioko, had completely
separate history until the 19th century, when they were
merged into a Spanish colony. At Bioko, the Bubi people
had a kingdom before the arrival of Europeans. On the
mainland, among others, the folk groups were bujeba,
belungue and kombe organized in various clan
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Equatorial Guinea, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Portuguese sailor Fernando Póo landed for the first
time in 1469 on the island of Bioko. In the mid-18th
century, the warrior and hunter people from present-day
Cameroon migrated into what is now the mainland part of
Equatorial Guinea. The people groups that lived there
were driven to the coast.
The Spaniards in 1778 took over the present
Equatorial Guinea from the Portuguese in exchange for
areas in South America. They built cocoa and coffee
plantations at Bioko. Only after World War II did Spain
show more interest in the mainland and began to use the
forests for timber exports.
In the 1950s, the first nationalist parties in the
Spanish colony were formed. They were dominated by the
prisoners and demanded independence. The Spaniards
refused but in 1963 gave the country a limited autonomy.
PDGE excludes 42 members
The PDGE ruling party excludes 42 members accused of involvement in a failed
coup attempt on Christmas Eve 2017 (see January 2018). Among
the excluded are a former ambassador, at least two former judges and the former
head of President Obiang's security service. About 30 mercenaries from Chad,
Sudan and the Central African Republic are being detained in Cameroon for
suspected participation in the coup attempt. There is no agreement yet on
handing them over to Equatorial Guinea, which will delay the trial of the coup
Travel restrictions for parliamentarians
MPs say to the British BBC that they have been banned from traveling abroad
without permission from Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang, son of President
Obiang. Similar travel restrictions were introduced for government
administration employees in June 2018.
The "national dialogue" begins
The so-called national dialogue is initiated by President Obiang without
central opposition representatives present, as Obiang did not fulfill his
promise to release all political prisoners. The dialogue will last for five days
and is the sixth dialogue since Obiang gained power almost 40 years ago.
Opposition party CI's prisoners have not been released and opposition in exile
have not dared to return.
General amnesty is delayed
The opposition states for media that political prisoners have not yet been
released from prisons, despite President Obiang's promise of a general amnesty
ahead of the national dialogue to begin in mid-July.
Obiang promises to release all political prisoners
President Obiang Nguema said in a televised speech that all political
prisoners in the country should be released under a general amnesty. There has
been a demand from the opposition for it to participate in Obiang's so-called
CI: Oppositionally killed by torture
Imprisoned opposition politician Juan Obama Edu has been tortured to death,
according to his party Citizens for Renewal (CI). It should have happened on
July 2. Obama Edu was sentenced in February, along with 20 other CI members, to
prison for rioting in connection with the election campaign in November 2017. CI
is now dissolved by the authorities. The announcement of Obama Edu's death risks
disrupting President Obiang Nguema's plans for a national dialogue with the
opposition, starting in mid-July. Five political parties have said they would
like to participate in the dialogue if it is held outside Equatorial Guinea or
with support and protection from the outside world. The parties also demand a
general amnesty for the dialogue.
Free Trade Agreement in Africa
Equatorial Guinea is one of 44 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement at
the African Union Summit in Rwanda. The agreement must be ratified at the
national level before the AFCFTA free trade area can become a reality, but it is
seen as a historically important step towards increased trade exchange within
Opposition Party dissolved; members are imprisoned
A court dissolves the opposition party Citizens for Renewal (CI) and
sentenced 21 of the party's members to jail for more than 30 years for
"rebellion" and for "undermining the authority of the state". The charges
originate in a brawl that broke out when police tried to stop a CI meeting a
week before the November 2017 election. Three policemen were injured and their
weapons seized. According to the EU, the human rights situation has deteriorated
significantly in Equatorial Guinea since the elections. The opposition is
accusing the government of holding hundreds of opposition prisoners without
cause. A CI member is also said to have died of torture in custody in January.
France is brought to trial
The International Court of Justice in The Hague holds hearings with
representatives of France since the country was reported to the Court by
Equatorial Guinea. The background is the French judgment against the country's
Vice President Teodorín Obiang in autumn 2017 (see October 2017).
Equatorial Guinea believes that France, through the judgment against Obiang,
violated international conventions on diplomatic relations.
Obiang kicks suspected coup makers
President Obiang dismisses four senior officials, including his own grandson,
who is suspected to have been involved in the coup attempt that took place in
December 2017. Obiang's grandson, Constantino Obiang Mba, is forced to leave his
post as director general of the state telecom company. In addition, two judges
and Equatorial Guinea's ambassador to Chad are fired.
Equatorial Guinea submits visa agreement
Equatorial Guinea withdraws from the agreement with neighboring countries on
visa freedom that came into force at the end of 2017 (see November 1,
2017). As a reason, Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy states the coup
attempt that according to the government took place before Christmas (see
January 3, 2018).
The government announces that a coup attempt was averted just over a week
earlier, on Christmas Eve 2017. In a radio broadcast, the country's security
minister states that mercenaries from Chad, Sudan and the Central African
Republic participated in the operation. The 38 mercenaries are said to have been
captured by security forces in Cameroon as they were crossing the border into
Equatorial Guinea. Only a few hours after the radio broadcast, new battles are
reported at the border with Cameroon. A mercenary should have been shot dead.
More details will be provided in the coming days. Among other things, the
government states that the coup attempt should have been planned on French soil.