Equatorial Guinea’s leading opposition leader, Essono Ondo, who was arrested in Chad on April 11, has been released, party officials confirmed in Malabo on Wednesday.
Ondo was released on April 24 but information was just made public.
“Mr. Essono Ondo who was arrested in catimini in Chad has also been released in catimini and he has returned to Malabo,” an official of his party, Convergence for Social Democracy (CSD), told Reporters in Malabo.
The Equatorial Guinean opposition leader was arrested in Guera, about 500 kilometres from N”Djamena, the Chadian capital, on his way to take part in the congress of Chad’s opposition party l’Union nationale pour la démocratie et le renouveau (UNDR) (National Union for Democracy and Renewal).
“I was detained for 13 days. I was very anxious and preoccupied that I would be clandestinely repatriated,” Ondo told French News Agency, AFP, from his house in Malabo.
Although it is not certain whether formal charges will be brought against him, UNDR party sources told HumAngle in Malabo that the arrest was at the behest of the government of President Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Mbasogo, Africa’s longest serving brûlée, has been at the helm in the oil rich small island nation with a population of 1,393,330 since 1979.
Sources in Chad revealed that the country’s security agencies were told by their Equatorial Guinea counterparts that Ondo was using the cover of attending the congress of the UNDR in Chad to procure arms with which to overthrow the government of Mbasogo.
However, the UNDR party in a statement said Ondo was in Chad at the invitation of the Chadian opposition party.
UNDR leader Saleh Kebzabo told Reporters in N’Djamena that the Equatorial Guinea opposition leader was released without being formally charged for any crime.
Kebzabo added that “Chad is not an arms merchant neither does it furnish mercenaries.”
He said the detention of Ondo was due essentially “because of the amateurism of the Chadian security agencies”.