Authorities in Equatorial Guinea have detained six French soldiers who were travelling in a helicopter that had stopped to refuel in the port city of Bata, the AFP news agency reports.
The detention came on the same day that the top appeals court in France upheld the conviction of Equatorial Guinea’s Vice-President Teodorin Obiang for using public money to fund his lavish lifestyle.
“The helicopter was on its way from Cameroon to Gabon and was making a routine stop”, according to a source quoted by AFP.
But Equatorial State radio has reported that the helicopter has not the authorization to land.
“National authorities do not rule out that this incident could be a spy operation and provocation on the part of Paris,” TVGE reported according to AFP.
A French army spokesman has denied this, and added there had been similar incidents in the past.