Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

Mercenary Simon Mann calls on UK to back the anti-ISIS fight in Africa

Mann, who was once jailed in Africa after a bungled coup plot, wants Britain to back local forces in Mozambique

Simon Mann (centre), a British mercenary, in court in Equatorial Guinea where he was sentenced to 34 years for his role in a failed coup.
Simon Mann (centre), a British mercenary, in court in Equatorial Guinea where he was sentenced to 34 years for his role in a failed coup.

A British mercenary behind a bungled African coup plot urged the UK to send troops to stop ISIS from establishing a caliphate on the continent.

Simon Mann said the UK should send cash and troops to Mozambique where thousands of fighters with links to ISIS have overwhelmed the country’s military.

Mann told The Times that an elite force of 3,000 troops, including former and current British soldiers, would provide the best hope for tackling the insurgency in the north of the country.

Up to 2,000 people have been killed in the gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado since 2017. More than 50 people were beheaded by extremists at a village football pitch this month, according to state media.

The attacks threaten to spread from the mainly Muslim province, where about 430,000 people have been left homeless. The insurgency threatens the security of the wider southern African region after militants attacked neighbouring Tanzania and warned South Africa not to intervene.

ISIS is active in six countries in sub-Sharan Africa. The National
ISIS is active in six countries in sub-Sharan Africa. The National

The National reported last month that ISIS was seeking to establish bases in at least six countries across the sub-Sahara region – Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.

“The UK has a great fund of money available only for aid,” Mann said.

“We surely have a simple duty to help relieve suffering, when we are able. How better to spend that money than by ending a war? That’s real aid.”

Mann, 68, the scion of a brewing empire and the son of a former England cricket captain, has a colourful past as founder of one of the world’s best-known mercenary outfits.

He spent more than five years in African jails after a failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea in 2004.

Mann was pardoned by Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the man he tried to overthrow with the help of a group of influential backers, after serving only two years of a 34-year sentence.

Updated: November 16, 2020 11:26 PM

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