Zimbabwe: Mercenaries with intriguing links

People's Weekly World, 18 March 2004

Leaders of the mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe March 7 have some intriguing ties to Western intelligence services. The 64 mercenaries, detained when their U.S.-built plane landed at Harare, allegedly planned a coup against the president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. They included men from South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and one Zimbabwean with a South African passport. Another 15 supposed plotters were arrested in Equatorial Guinea.

The Johannesburg Mail & Guardian last week said one alleged ringleader, Simon Mann, was a former British special forces soldier and a founder of a private military firm close to British intelligence. Another, former South African special forces operative Nic du Toit, is a director of a private military firm whose founder allegedly had CIA ties until his mysterious death in 2001.

The plane, registered to a Kansas company, was sold earlier this month to Mann's offshore company, Logo Logistics, which worked closely with the firm Executive Outcomes, formed in 1989 by former apartheid special forces operatives.