Equatorial Guinea — The West African state of Equatorial Guinea said on Wednesday that it had thwarted "a coup" in late December, mounted by mercenaries who sought to attack President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Africa’s longest-serving leader. In a statement read on public radio, security minister Nicolas Obama Nchama said: "Mercenaries ... were recruited by Equatorial Guinean militants from certain radical opposition parties with the support of certain powers." The plot had been prevented thanks to an operation carried out "in collaboration with the Cameroon security services". The announcement came after Cameroon arrested 38 heavily armed men on the border with the tiny state on December 27. Two days later, Equatorial Guinea’s ambassador to France, Miguel Oyono Ndong Mifumu, referred to the incident as an "invasion and destabilisation attempt".