Africa is 'suffering' due to foreign intervention

FOREIGN military intervention has caused massive suffering in Africa, the African Union's current chairman said yesterday in a message that is being seen as a criticism of the Nato airstrikes in Libya.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema, president of Equatorial Guinea, also blamed outside "agents" for sparking pro-democracy demonstrations in countries across Africa including his own.

"The intervention for human rights are nowadays causing a massive scourge," he said at the opening of the AU's biannual summit being held in Malambo, on an island off the western coast of Africa. "The uncounted number of victims, among them women and children, displaced people and the destruction of economic infrastructure does not justify such interventions. Instead of providing solutions to problems we are complicating and worsening world conflicts."

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Mr Obiang did not specifically mention Libya, but the AU has come out forcefully against the bombardment that is threatening to topple Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, whose grip on power was thought to be absolute.

His fall would be discomforting for the other entrenched rulers in Africa, including Mr Obiang, who has maintained total control of state institutions in Equatorial Guinea since his uncle was overthrown and killed in a coup 32 years ago.

His country is considered among the most undemocratic in the world, one that has never had free and fair elections, and where opponents to the regime are systematically tortured, according to Human Rights Watch and the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture.

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