Equatorial Guinea National Guard
By Arnold ten Pas
Despite being one of the smallest countries in continental Africa, Equatorial Guinea has a relative new and growing air force with modern equipment. Equatorial Guinea consists of a mainland territory known as Río Muni; the island of Bioko (formerly Fernando Pó) and island of Annobón. Capital Malabo at the island of Bioko houses the majority of the 500,000 Guineans and is home to the main base of the Guinean Air Force.
After gaining independence from Spain on 12 October 1968, Equatorial Guinea has suffered from internal struggles. The first president of Equatorial Guinea, Francisco Macías Nguema, created a single-party state in 1970 and later assumed the title of President for Life. Following a period of economic downfall, Macias' nephew from Mongomo, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, led a successful coup d'état in August 1979. Obiang assumed the Presidency in October 1979. In 2004, an unsuccessful coup d'état was performed but Obiang Nguema Mbasogo remains the president until now.
Structure and bases
Equatorial Guinea National Guard uses Malabo as its main operating base, but also has a detachment at Bata with Mi-24 gunships. The presidential VIP fleet reports directly to the headquarters and carries civil markings. The newly acquired Su-25s, Mi-24 and L-39 carry squadron markings (a leopard) and are operated in flights/squadrons of which the exact naming remains unknown to us.
The air force branch of the Equatorial Guinea National Guard has been expanding rapidly over the last few years, following a period of virtual non-existence. Recent additions compromise two Aero L-39s, four Su-25s and two Mi-24s, all ex Ukraine. In 2011, a Mi-6 was delivered to the small country.