YAOUNDE, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The West African state of Equatorial Guinea said Wednesday it has foiled a coup attempt by what it said were foreign mercenaries.
Reading a statement on radio, Security Minister Nicholas Obama Nchama said the coup was thwarted on Dec. 24 when armed militants were found over the border in Cameroon preparing to attack President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who was spending New Year holidays in the border town of Mongomo.
The mercenaries, who also appeared in the capital city of Malabo and economic center Bata, were from Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic, according to the statement.
"Mercenaries ... were recruited by Equatorial Guinean militants from certain radical opposition parties with the support of certain powers," the minister said.
The Equatorial Guinean government is cooperating with Cameroonian security services in the hunt for other militants involved in the coup, he added.
State television TVGE said clashes broke out near the border with Cameroon shortly after Nchama made the announcement. Security forces shot dead one "mercenary" and "used gunfire to disperse them in the forests along the border," the report added.
Nguema has been in office for nearly 40 years and is the longest-serving head of state in Africa now.