Equatorial Guinea

Coronavirus cases climb to 400 across Africa

Chi Chi Izundu

BBC News, Lagos

There are now more than 400 known cases of coronavirus across the continent, with nations imposing a range of measures to try to prevent the spread.

According to the latest data, the breakdown is as follows: Algeria - 60; Benin - 1; Burkina Faso - 15; Cameroon - 5; Central African Republic - 1; Congo-Brazzaville - 1; DR Congo - 2; Egypt - 126; Eswatini - 1; Ethiopia - 5; Equatorial Guinea - 1; Gabon - 1; Ghana - 6; Guinea - 1; Ivory Coast - 3; Kenya - 3; Liberia - 2; Mauritania - 1; Morocco - 37; Namibia - 2; Nigeria - 3; Rwanda - 7; Senegal - 26; Seychelles - 4; Somalia - 1; South Africa - 62; Sudan - 1; Tanzania - 1; Togo - 1; Tunisia - 24.

While many countries are closing schools, banning large gatherings and shutting borders, in Kenya telecom companies have slashed the cost of mobile money transfers in a bid to encourage people to go cashless.

An anti-corruption court in Nairobi has relocated and set up outside the capital.

There is increasing concern about the potential economic impact in Africa.

People working in other parts of the world are likely to have less money available to send to their families back home so there is likely to be a drop in these remittances.

Equatorial Guinea donates $2m to 'sister nation' China

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (L) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping (R) before their bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in September 2018
The two countries enjoy close ties and their presidents have met in the past

Equatorial Guinea's president has announced that the oil-rich country is to donate $2m (£1.5m) to aid its "sister nation" China as it battles the coronavirus outbreak that has so far killed 636 people.

Yet China boasts the world's second-biggest economy after the US, and its GDP of $13.6tr dwarfs Equatorial Guinea's $13.4bn.

The decision was made at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and is intended as a show of "support and solidarity" to one of Equatorial Guinea's key trading partners.

Although Equatorial Guinea is Africa's third-biggest oil producer, more than half the population lives below the poverty line.

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Gambia torture hearings start

We are taking a moment to look at what is happening in the rest of the continent, aside from Gabon.

In The Gambia hearings that intend to investigate alleged human rights abuses committed during the 22-year regime of former President Yahya Jammeh have begun.

The exact numbers of people killed or tortured are yet unknown. The 11-member panel hopes to document the scale of the abuses by October 2020.

The hearings are being broadcast live on Facebook:

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More than 1,000 witnesses are expected to testify. Among them are journalists, campaigners, and politicians who criticised Mr Jammeh's rule.

Just wearing a T-shirt calling for democracy was enough to incur the wrath of Mr Jammeh, leading to arbitrary detentions, often without trial, and sometimes death and disappearances.

But in January 2017, under a regionally brokered deal, Mr Jammeh was forced into exile after losing elections.

He went to oil-rich Equatorial Guinea where not much has been heard from him since.

However a recent video surfaced in which he appears to be dancing at an official function with his host, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. This has led to renewed calls for his extradition to The Gambia to face trial.

President's son demands Brazil returns seized $16m

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A picture taken on June 25, 2013 shows Teodorin Nguema Obiang (R), the son of Equatorial Guinea's president Teodoro Obiang and the country's vice-president in charge of security and defence, arriving at Malabo's Cathdral to celebrate his 41st birthday
Getty Images
The vice-president is known for his flamboyant lifestyle

Equatorial Guinea has demanded that Brazil hand back more than $16m (£12m) worth of cash and luxury watches confiscated from a delegation accompanying the president's son, Teodorin Nguema Obiang.

Equatorial Guinea's foreign minister described the seizure as a "paltry and unfriendly" act.

Mr Obiang, who is vice-president of Equatorial Guinea, arrived in Brazil on Friday on board a private jet.

Brazil prohibits people from entering the country with more than $2,400 in cash.

Both Mr Obiang and his father deny misusing their country's oil revenue.

Brazil confiscates $16 million from Equatorial Guinea VP's entourage

Cash and luxury watches were in the luggage of Teodorin Nguema Obiang's delegation
A delegation led by the Vice President of Equatorial Guinea - Teodorin Nguema Obiang, son of the longtime president - has had $16 million worth of cash and luxury watches confiscated at an airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

In October 2017, Mr Obiang was sentenced to a three year suspended sentence in France on charges of money laundering. 

Tutu Alicante is Executive Director of EG Justice, an NGO which advocates for human rights in Equatorial Guinea. He explains why he thinks many people in the country won't be surprised by the latest incident.

The Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Brazil had not replied to a request for comment at the time of publishing. 

(Photo: Teodorin Nguema Obiang. Credit: Getty Images)

Travel ban on Equatorial Guinea MPs

Will Ross

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Parliamentarians in Equatorial Guinea have been banned from travelling outside the country unless the trip is authorised by Vice-President Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the son of the president.

A reporter with the AFP news agency obtained the letter which was sent last month to lawmakers and it says the measure has been put in place on grounds of national interest.

In June a similar ban was imposed on all civil servants.

The restriction is suspected to be as a result of an attempt last year to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema - Africa's longest serving leader.

The government of Equatorial Guinea said the coup attempt was instigated by civil servants who had travelled to Europe.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Getty Images
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema is Africa's longest serving leader

Equatorial Guinea declares amnesty for political prisoners

BBC World Service

In this file photo taken on May 29, 2015 Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo arrives to attend the inauguration of the Nigerian President at the Eagles Square in Abuja.
Mr Obiang seized power in a coup in 1979.

Equatorial Guinea's president has declared a general amnesty for all political prisoners.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's decree was read on national television.

Opposition parties had demanded the release of political detainees as one of the conditions for taking part in what the president has called a national dialogue.

Earlier this year, Equatorial Guinea's main opposition party Citizens for Innovation was dissolved by the authorities and 21 of its members were given long jail sentences following what the government said was a coup attempt by mercenaries.

Mr Obiang seized power in a coup in 1979.