Ifve been watching the stories of alternate explanations of what the N4610 mercenaries were up to. The most prominent of them suggests that the mercenaries were just out to bring Charles Taylor to justice. Apparently, the families are the source of the story that the men werenft trying to stage a coup in Equatorial Guinea but only trying to capture fugitive Charles Taylor:
A saga of claim and counterclaim surrounding suspected African mercenaries continued today when the menfs families disclosed that they had been on a mission to abduct Charles Taylor, Liberiafs former warlord-turned-president.
The men, detained in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea, face possible death penalties, having been charged with planning to overthrow the president of the tiny West African
Seventy suspects have been remanded in custody at Zimbabwefs top security prison. Fifteen others are incarcerated in Equatorial Guinea, accused of accepting an offer from exiled opposition leaders of $1.8 million (1m) and oil rights to overthrow the Government.
However, family and friends told South African newspapers today that the men were simply planning to use Guinea as a staging post on a mission to capture Mr. Taylor.
He carries a $2 million (1.1m) bounty to be paid by America on delivery to the war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone.
So, let me get this straight: The families admit that those arrested in connection with N4610 in Zimbabwe and those arrested in Equatorial Guinea were working together and that N4610 was headed for Equatorial Guinea? Yes?
(I havenft yet been able to determine whether the families also claim that the mission was associated with the mercenary firm Northbridge Services Group -- this seems to be fairly logical speculation on the part of a reporter.)
I donft know why this story is getting such uncritical media coverage: It is obvious to me that this is a maneuver aimed toward getting the mercenaries off on the charges most likely to involve the death penalty.
UPDATE: The Australian has a good write-up on the mercenaries, Dogs of war walk into carefully set trap, with the general thesis that the South African government, aware of the plot, gave the mercenaries the proverbial sufficiency of rope, setting them up to be arrested and jailed. Along the way, the piece places the Charles Taylor bounty-hunting as the secondary mission of the group, to be undertaken after the EQ coup. This makes a lot of sense to me.