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Africa politics

The Rise and Fall of Emperor Jean Bedel Bokassa of CAR, One of Africa's Most Brutal Dictators

On December 31 1965, a military coup overthrew President Dacko and replaced him by another relative of father Boganda: Col. Jean-Bedel Bokassa, then aged 44. Later promoted to General and then, Field-Marshal, Bokassa ruled the country as an absolute dictator.

In 1969, his right hand man, Lt-Col. Alexandre Banza, was put to death after an alleged plot. From that point, atrocities increased in a reign of terror equally only in Uganda under the rule of Idi Amin and Equitorial Guinea under Macias Nguema, both friends of Bokassa.

In 1970, he announced to the nation that he had awarded himself the title of ‘Grand Master of the International Brotherhood of Knights Collectors of Postage Stamps’. Other titles he went by include President for Life, Minister of Defense, Minister of Justice, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Health and Minister of Aviation. He even made himself Emperor of the Central African Republic.

He was protected by the French power as the gave him enormous aid of all sorts. Despite this and all trade in diamonds, the Central African Republic remained as deprived as ever before. there was however, a boom in Bangui, the nation's capital, for some business interests, French and others indeed.

On January 19th 1979, there were serious riots that began the mark the end of Bakossa's brutal rule. The riot saw the killings of hundreds, including women and children. Soon, reports were published by Amnesty International saying that the Emperor ordered the killings of children. The French then immediately turned their back on Bakossa, fearing any anti-French revolution in the country. The French however welcomed a coup against the Emperor in 1979 while in Libya on a visit to seek aid so as to try maintain power in the midst of a dissatisfactions in CAR.

He was later tried and sentenced to death. He returned to the Central African Republic in 1986 and was put on trial for treason and murder. In 1987, he was cleared of charges of cannibalism, but found guilty of the murder of schoolchildren and other crimes. The death sentence was later commuted to life in solitary confinement, but he was freed in 1993. He lived a private life in Bangui and died in November of 1996.


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Alexandre Banza Bokassa Dacko Jean-Bedel Bokassa


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