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Zuma freed us, says mercenary

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Zuma freed us, says mercenary

4th November 2009

By: Sapa

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South African mercenary Nick du Toit, who has been freed from a notorious Equatorial Guinea jail, has given President Jacob Zuma the credit for his and his accomplices' pardon.

"We were told... that we were going to be freed. We were told that Zuma and his government were involved in the negotiations for our release and now today, we are free men," said Du Toit.

The Star newspaper reported on Wednesday that he and his accomplices, Briton Simon Mann and South Africans Sergio Cardoso, Jose Sundays and George Alerson were in the dark about how their release was negotiated.

"We do not know what went on behind the closed doors or for how long they have been negotiating.

"We are just glad that we are going home. This has been a dream of mine for years and I cannot wait to hold and see my family again.

"While we have been preparing ourselves for this, it is still hard to believe that we are actually coming home," said Du Toit, who was jailed in Black Beach for his involvement in a 2004 plot to topple President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Zuma visited Equatorial Guinea last year and was due to arrive in the country for another visit on Tuesday.

His spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said he was not privy to any discussions that were held between the two statesmen.

"It's possible that the government of Equatorial Guinea had believed it needed to release them on the eve of President Zuma's visit.

"But that was not a condition from our side, to say they must do that on the eve of the visit. We do believe it satisfies the legal provisions of Equatorial Guinea," said Magwenya.

Several reports suggested the men would return to South Africa within 24 hours of their release on Tuesday but it was not clear yet exactly when they were expected to arrive.

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