MI5 engaged in a series of assassination attempts on Princess Diana in the months leading up to her death, according to an Angolan official who says British Royal Protection officers plotted to assassinate her on a minefield just months before she died in Paris.
On Jan. 15, 1997, Princess Diana walked through an active minefield in Angola, and detonated a mine in front of an audience of international reporters, with the help of a land mine removal expert.
“MI5 sent eight agents to organize her assassination,” says Manuel Chingunji, a former Angolan State Intelligence and Security Service official. “The plan was for her to die during her walk through the minefield. They saw it as the perfect crime because nobody would question it.
“She would be the stupid girl who got involved with things she didn’t understand and had it blow up in her face.”
Increasingly seen as a loose cannon by the Royal Family, Princess Diana was marked for death months before her trip, according to Chingunji, who explains that British intelligence agents attached to MI5 were tasked with assassinating the princess “before she could embarrass them [the Royal Family] even more.”
“Two weeks before she came to Angola, MI5 were here working with us [Angola’s State Intelligence department] in the minefield she would visit, plotting the exact location of active mines using the techniques we used back then. We had trained dogs to sniff out the vapors coming from the mines. Finding landmines is a very slow process but we mapped the field within two days.”
“Their plan was to walk her over an active mine.“
“When she came to Angola she was the most famous woman in the world. We loved her. We couldn’t believe the British wanted to kill the princess. But they explained why they had to do it, and the British promised the government millions and millions of dollars in arms,” said the former intelligence official, explaining that the Angolan military needed cutting-edge arms to gain an advantage in their long running civil war.
“They weren’t finding it easy to finish her off,” Chingunjia said. “They had already tried to kill her with food and they tried to smash her car up in London.”
Chingunji explained that poison pills were used to doctor Diana’s food and drinks during a previous assassination attempt, but the pills, manufactured by the CIA’s Technical Services Division, were given to an MI5 agent who did not follow through with the plan. Instead he warned Princess Diana there was an active MI5 contract on her life.
According to Diana’s friends, the troubled royal made a series of hysterical calls to friends before setting off on her walk through the supposedly cleared minefield, begging them to “pray for me”. In 2013 close friend Simone Simmons said Diana believed her enemies, MI5 agents she called “men in grey suits”, had arranged for mines to be planted to silence her for good.
Simone Simmons recalled: “Diana was very, very scared, very nervous. She was absolutely convinced she was going to die during that trip to the minefield. She told me: ‘Please pray for me… I am terrified that they haven’t cleared the minefield properly. I am scared they have left some live ones to blow me up.’”
Simone also recalled being at Kensington Palace when Princess Diana received a menacing phone call, which caused the colour drain from Diana’s face. She claims the caller, a powerful establishment figure, warned: “Drop the anti-landmines campaign… you never know when an accident is going to happen.”
Manuel Chingunji explains that Diana was a nervous wreck by the time she arrived in Africa. “The whole time she was in Angola she didn’t trust anybody in MI5. She didn’t trust her protectors. If they gave her unexpected instructions, she would do the opposite. She wouldn’t eat their food.”
On Jan. 15, 1997 in Angola, Princess Diana’s disobedience saved her life. While walking through the minefield, Diana refused to follow an MI5 agent’s directions. Instead she followed closely behind the land mine removal expert, believing he was a safer handler than an MI5 agent loyal to the Queen of England.
“We were all relieved when she followed that path and saved her skin,” says Chingunji. “It was tense. We thought we were watching a live assassination. When she detonated the dummy mine for the cameras, and stepped out of the field, we knew she was safe. They didn’t pull off their perfect crime.”
“You might think we were cowards for not trying to stop them, but you don’t understand the way these agencies work. Back then, when you knew the secrets we knew, if you spoke out or disrupted anything, you died. Your family would be punished too.”
“It might sound strange, because they got her in Paris a few months later, but I’m happy she didn’t die on Angolan soil.”