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Jean-Bédel Bokassa

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Jean-Bédel Bokassa
Bokassa during his reign as Emperor of the Central African Empire
Bokassa during his reign as Emperor of the Central African Empire
Emperor of Central Africa
Reign 4 December 1976 – 20 September 1979
Coronation 4 December 1977
Predecessor New Empire
Successor Empire abolished
President of the Central African Republic
Term 1 January 1966 – 4 December 1976
Predecessor David Dacko
Successor David Dacko
Crown Prince Jean-Bédel
Jean-Serge Bokassa
Born 22 February 1921(1921-02-22)
Died 3 November 1996 (aged 75)
Religion Catholicism, Islam briefly between September 1976 and December 1976

Jean-Bédel Bokassa (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃ bedɛl bɔkasa]; 22 February 1921 – 2 November 1996, also known as Bokassa I of Central Africa and Salah Eddine Ahmed Bokassa) was the military ruler of the Central African Republic from 1 January 1966 and the Emperor of the Central African Empire from 4 December 1976 until he was overthrown on 20 September 1979.

Early life

Bokassa was born one of 12 children to Mindogon Mgboundoulou, a village chief, and his wife Marie Yokowo in Bobangui, a large M'Baka village in the Lobaye basin located at the edge of the equatorial forest, some 80 kilometres (50 mi) southwest of Bangui.[1] Mgboundoulou was forced to organise the rosters of his village people to work for the French Forestière company. After hearing about the efforts of a prophet named Karnu to resist French rule and forced labour,[2] Mgboundoulou decided that he would no longer follow French orders. He released some of his fellow villagers who were being held hostage by the Forestière. The company considered this to be a rebellious act, so they detained Mgboundoulou, took him away and bound in chains to Mbaïki.[1] On 13 November 1927, he was beaten to death in the town square just outside the prefecture office. A week later, Bokassa's mother, Marie Yokowo, unable to bear the grief of losing her husband, committed suicide.[1][3][4]

Bokassa's extended family decided that it would be best if he received a French education at the Ecole Sainte-Jeanne d'Arc, a Christian mission school in Mbaïki.[5] As a child, he was frequently taunted by his classmates about his orphanhood. He was short in stature, but made up for this by being physically strong. In his studies, he became especially fond of a grammar book written by a French man named Bedel. His teachers noticed his attachment, and started calling him "Jean-Bedel".[5] During his teenage years, Bokassa studied at Ecole Saint-Louis in Bangui, under Father Grüner. Grüner educated Bokassa with the intention of making him a priest, but realized that his student did not have the aptitude for study or the piety required for this occupation. He then studied at Father Compte's school in Brazzaville, where he developed his abilities as a cook. After graduating in 1939, Bokassa took the advice offered to him by his grandfather, M'Balanga, and Father Grüner, by joining the Free French Forces as a private on 19 May.[5]


While serving in the Second bataillon de marche, Bokassa became a corporal in July 1940 and a sergeant major in November 1941.[6] After the occupation of France by Nazi Germany, Bokassa served in the Forces' African unit and took part in the capture of the Vichy government's capital at Brazzaville. He participated in the Allied Forces landing in Provence, France and fought in Germany before Nazi Germany was toppled. He remained in the Army after the war, studying radio transmissions at an army camp in the French coastal town of Fréjus.[6] Afterwards, he attended officer training school in Saint-Louis, Senegal. On 7 September 1950, Bokassa headed to Indochina as the transmissions expert for the battalion of Saigon-Cholon.[7] Bokassa saw some combat during the First Indochina War before his tour of duty ended in March 1953. For his exploits in battle, he was honored with a membership in the Legion d'Honneur, and was decorated with Croix de Guerre.[8] During his stay in Indochina, he married a 17-year-old girl named Nguyen Thi Hué. After Hué bore him a daughter, Bokassa had the child registered as a French national. Bokassa left Indochina without his wife and child, as he believed he would return for another tour of duty in the near future.[9] Upon his return to Europe, Bokassa was stationed at Fréjus, where he taught radio transmissions to African recruits. In 1956, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant and two years later to Lieutenant.[10] Bokassa was then stationed as a military technical assistant in Brazzaville and later Bangui before being promoted to the rank of Captain on 1 July 1961.[10]

The French colony of Ubangi-Chari (Oubangui-Chari in French), part of French Equatorial Africa, had become a semi-autonomous territory of the French Community in 1958 and then an independent nation on 13 August 1960.

On 1 January 1962, Bokassa left the French Army and joined the military forces of the CAR with the rank of battalion commandant.[11] As a cousin of the President David Dacko and nephew of Dacko's predecessor Barthélémy Boganda, Bokassa was given the task of creating the new country's military. Over a year later, Bokassa became commander-in-chief of the 500 soldiers in the Central African army. Due to his relation to Dacko and experience abroad in the French military, Bokassa was able to quickly rise through the ranks of the army, becoming the Central African army's first colonel on 1 December 1964.[12]

Bokassa sought recognition for his status as leader of the army—he frequently appeared in public wearing all his military decorations, and in ceremonies, he often sat next to President Dacko to display his importance in the government.[13] Bokassa frequently got into heated arguments with Jean-Paul Douate, the government's chief of protocol, who admonished him for not following the correct order of seating at presidential tables. At first, Dacko found his cousin's antics amusing.[13] Despite the number of recent military coups in Africa, Dacko publicly dismissed the likelihood that Bokassa would try to take control of the country. At an official dinner, he said, "Colonel Bokassa only wants to collect medals and he is too stupid to pull off a coup d'état".[14] Other members of Dacko's cabinet believed that Bokassa was a genuine threat to the regime. Jean-Arthur Bandio, the minister of interior, suggested to Dacko that Bokassa be placed in the Cabinet, which he hoped would both break the colonel's close connections with the CAR army and satisfy the colonel's desire for recognition.[13] To combat the chance that Bokassa would stage a coup, Dacko created the gendarmerie, an armed police force of 500 and a 120-member presidential security guard, led by Jean Izamo and Prosper Mounoumbaye, respectively.[13]

Tensions rise between Dacko and Bokassa

Dacko's government faced a number of problems during 1964 and 1965: the economy experienced stagnation, the bureaucracy started to fall apart, and the country's boundaries were constantly breached by Lumumbists from the south and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army from the east.[15] Under pressure from political radicals in the Mouvement pour l'évolution sociale de l'Afrique noire (Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa or MESAN) and in an attempt to cultivate alternative sources of support and display his ability to make foreign policy without the help of the French government, Dacko established diplomatic relations with the Mao Zedong's People's Republic of China (PRC) in September 1964.[15] A delegation led by Meng Yieng and agents of the Chinese government toured the country, showing communist propaganda films. Soon after, the PRC gave the CAR an interest-free loan of one billion CFA francs (20 million French francs[16]); however, the aid failed to subdue the prospect of a financial collapse for the country.[15] Widespread corruption by government officials and politicians added to the country's list of problems.[17] Bokassa felt that he needed to take over the CAR government to solve all the country's problems—most importantly, to rid the country from the influence of communism. According to Samuel Decalo, a scholar on African government, Bokassa's personal ambitions played the most important role in his decision to launch a coup against Dacko.[18]

Dacko sent Bokassa to Paris as part of the country's delegation for the Bastille Day celebrations in July 1965. After attending the celebrations and a 23 July ceremony to mark the closing of a military officer training school he had attended decades earlier, Bokassa decided to return to the CAR. However, Dacko forbade his return,[15] and the infuriated Bokassa spent the next few months trying to obtain supporters from the French and Central African armed forces, who he hoped would force Dacko to reconsider his decision. Dacko eventually yielded to pressure and allowed Bokassa back in October 1965. Bokassa claimed that Dacko finally gave up after French President Charles de Gaulle had personally told Dacko that "Bokassa must be immediately returned to his post. I cannot tolerate the mistreatment of my companion-in-arms".[19]

Tensions between Dacko and Bokassa continued to escalate in the coming months. In December, Dacko approved an increase in the budget for Izamo's gendarmerie, but rejected the budget proposal Bokassa had made for the army.[20] At this point, Bokassa told friends he was annoyed by Dacko's mistreatment and was "going for a coup d'état".[14] Dacko planned to replace Bokassa with Izamo as his personal military adviser, and wanted to promote army officers loyal to the government, while demoting Bokassa and his close associates.[20] Dacko did not conceal his plans; he hinted at his intentions to elders of the Bobangui village, who in turn informed Bokassa of the plot. Bokassa realized he had to act against Dacko quickly, and worried that his 500-man army would be no match for the gendarmerie and the presidential guard.[20] He was also overwrought over the possibility that the French would come to Dacko's aid after the coup d’état, as had occurred after one in Gabon against President Léon M'ba in February 1964. After receiving word of the coup from the country's vice president, officials in Paris sent paratroopers to Gabon in a matter of hours and M'Ba was quickly restored to power.[20]

Bokassa received substantive support from his co-conspirator, Captain Alexandre Banza, who commanded the Camp Kassaï military base in northeast Bangui, and, like Bokassa, had been stationed with the French army around the world. Banza was an intelligent, ambitious and capable man who played a major role in the planning of the coup.[20] By December, many people began to anticipate the political turmoil that would soon engulf the country. Dacko's personal advisers alerted him that Bokassa "showed signs of mental instability" and needed to be arrested before he sought to bring down the government,[20] but Dacko did not heed these warnings.

Coup d'état

Central african republic sm04

Map of the Central African Empire

Dacko left the Palais de la Renaissance early in the evening of 31 December 1965 to visit one of his ministers' plantations southwest of Bangui.[20] An hour and a half before midnight, Captain Banza gave orders to his officers to begin the coup.[21] Bokassa called Izamo at his headquarters and asked him to come to Camp de Roux to sign some documents that needed his immediate attention. Izamo, who was at a New Year's Eve celebration with friends, reluctantly agreed and travelled to the camp. Upon arrival, he was confronted by Banza and Bokassa, who informed him of the coup in progress. After declaring his opposition to the coup, Izamo was taken by the coup plotters to an underground cellar.[21]

Around midnight, Bokassa, Banza and their supporters left Camp de Roux to take over the capital.[21] After seizing the capital in a matter of hours, Bokassa and Banza rushed to the Palais de la Renaissance in order to arrest Dacko. However, Dacko was nowhere to be found. Bokassa panicked, believing the president had been warned of the coup in advance, and immediately ordered his soldiers to search for Dacko in the countryside until he was found.[21] Dacko was arrested by soldiers patrolling Pétévo Junction, on the western border of the capital. He was taken back to the presidential palace, where Bokassa hugged the president and told him, "I tried to warn you—but now it's too late". President Dacko was taken to Ngaragba Prison in east Bangui at around 02:00 WAT (01:00 UTC). In a move that he thought would boost his popularity in the country, Bokassa ordered prison director Otto Sacher to release all prisoners in the jail. Bokassa then took Dacko to Camp Kassaï, where he forced the president to resign. Later, Bokassa's officers announced on Radio-Bangui that the Dacko government had been toppled and Bokassa had taken over control.[22] In the morning, Bokassa addressed the public via Radio-Bangui:

Central Africans! Central Africans! This is Colonel Bokassa speaking to you. Since 3:00 AM this morning your army has taken control of the government. The Dacko government has resigned. The hour of justice is at hand. The bourgeoisie is abolished. A new era of equality among all has begun. Central Africans, wherever you may be, be assured that the army will defend you and your property ... Long live the Central African Republic![22]

Early years of regime

In the early days of his regime, Bokassa engaged in self-promotion before the media, showing his countrymen his French army medals, and displaying his strength, fearlessness and masculinity.[23] He formed a new government called the Revolutionary Council, invalidated the constitution and dissolved the National Assembly,[24] calling it "a lifeless organ no longer representing the people".[23] In his address to the nation, Bokassa claimed that the government would hold elections in the future, a new assembly would be formed, and a new constitution would be written. He also told his countrymen that he would give up his power after the communist threat had been eliminated, the economy stabilized, and corruption rooted out.[25] President Bokassa allowed MESAN to continue functioning, but barred all other political organizations from the country. In the coming months, Bokassa imposed a number of new rules and regulations: men and women between the ages of 18 and 55 had to provide proof that they had jobs, or else they would be fined or imprisoned;[26] begging was banned; tom-tom playing was allowed during the nights and weekends; and a "morality brigade" was formed in the capital to monitor bars and dance halls. Polygamy, dowries and female circumcision were all abolished. Bokassa also opened a public transport system in Bangui and subsidized the creation of two national orchestras.[26]

Despite the positive changes in the country, Bokassa had difficulty obtaining international recognition for his new government. He tried to justify the coup by explaining that Izamo and communist Chinese agents were trying to take over the government and that he had to intervene to save the CAR from the influence of communism.[27] He alleged that Chinese agents in the countryside had been training and arming locals to start a revolution, and on 6 January 1966, he dismissed the communist agents from the country and cut off diplomatic relations with China. Bokassa also believed that the coup was necessary in order to prevent further corruption in the government.[27]

Bokassa first secured diplomatic recognition from President François Tombalbaye of neighboring Chad, whom he met in Bouca, Ouham. After Bokassa reciprocated by meeting Tombalbaye on 2 April 1966 along the southern border of Chad at Fort Archambault, the two decided to help one another if either was in danger of losing power.[28] Soon after, other African countries began to diplomatically recognize the new government. At first, the French government was reluctant to support the Bokassa regime, so Banza went to Paris to meet with French officials to convince them that the coup was necessary to save the country from turmoil. Bokassa met with Prime Minister Georges Pompidou on 7 July 1966, but the French remained noncommittal in offering their support.[28] After Bokassa threatened to withdraw from the franc monetary zone, President Charles de Gaulle decided to make an official visit to the CAR on 17 November 1966. To the Bokassa regime, this visit meant that the French had finally accepted the new changes in the country.[28]

Threat to power

Bokassa and Banza had a major argument over the country's budget, as Banza adamantly opposed the president's extravagant spending. Bokassa moved to Camp de Roux, where he felt he could safely run the government without having to worry about Banza's thirst for power.[29] In the meantime, Banza tried to obtain a support base within the army, spending much of his time in the company of soldiers. Bokassa recognized what his minister was doing, so he sent military units most sympathetic to Banza to the country's border and brought his own army supporters as close to the capital as possible. In September 1967, he took a special trip to Paris, where he asked for protection from French troops. Two months later, the government deployed 80 paratroopers to Bangui.[29]

On 13 April 1968, in another one of his frequent cabinet reshuffles, Bokassa demoted Banza to minister of health, but let him remain in his position as minister of state. Cognizant of the president's intentions, Banza increased his vocalization of dissenting political views.[30] A year later, after Banza made a number of remarks highly critical of Bokassa and his management of the economy, the president, perceiving an immediate threat to his power, removed him as his minister of state.[30] Banza revealed his intention to stage a coup to Lieutenant Jean-Claude Mandaba, the commanding officer of Camp Kassaï, who he looked to for support. Mandaba went along with the plan, but his allegiance remained with Bokassa.[30] When Banza contacted his co-conspirators on 8 April 1969, informing them that they would execute the coup the following day, Mandaba immediately phoned Bokassa and informed him of the plan. When Banza entered Camp Kassaï on 9 April 1969, he was ambushed by Mandaba and his soldiers. The men had to break Banza's arms before they could overpower and throw him into the trunk of a Mercedes and take him directly to Bokassa.[30] At his house in Berengo, Bokassa nearly beat Banza to death before Mandaba suggested that Banza be put on trial for appearance's sake.[31]

On 12 April, Banza presented his case before a military tribunal at Camp de Roux, where he admitted to his plan, but stated that he had not planned to kill Bokassa.[32] He was sentenced to death by firing squad, taken to an open field behind Camp Kassaï, executed and buried in an unmarked grave.[31] The circumstances of Banza's death have been disputed. The American newsmagazine, Time, reported that Banza "was dragged before a Cabinet meeting where Bokassa slashed him with a razor. Guards then beat Banza until his back was broken, dragged him through the streets of Bangui and finally shot him."[33] The French daily evening newspaper Le Monde reported that Banza was killed in circumstances "so revolting that it still makes one's flesh creep":

Two versions concerning the end circumstances of his death differ on one minor detail. Did Bokassa tie him to a pillar before personally carving him with a knife that he had previously used for stirring his coffee in the gold-and-midnight blue Sèvres coffee set, or was the murder committed on the cabinet table with the help of other persons? Late that afternoon, soldiers dragged a still identifiable corpse, with the spinal column smashed, from barrack to barrack to serve as an example.[34]

Rule during the 1970s

In 1971, Bokassa promoted himself to full general, and in March 1972 declared himself president for life. He survived another coup attempt in December 1974. The following month, on 2 January, he relinquished the position of prime minister to Elizabeth Domitien. His domestic and foreign policies became increasingly unpredictable, leading to another assassination attempt at Bangui M'Poko International Airport in February 1976.[35]

Foreign support

Because of the Central African soil's mineral resources (including uranium and diamonds), some countries like France and the United States supported Bokassa and dealt with him. In 1975, the French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing declared himself a "friend and family member" of Bokassa. By that time France supplied its former colony's regime with financial and military backing. In exchange, Bokassa frequently took d'Estaing on hunting trips in Africa and supplied France with uranium, a mineral which was vital for France's nuclear energy and weapons program in the Cold War era.

The "friendly and fraternal" cooperation with France—according to Bokassa's own terms—reached its peak with the imperial coronation ceremony of Bokassa I on 4 December 1977.[36] The French Defence Minister sent a battalion to secure the ceremony; he also lent 17 aircraft to the Central African Empire's government, and even assigned French Navy personnel to support the orchestra.[37]

On 10 October 1979, the Canard Enchaîné satiric newspaper reported - in what soon became a major political scandal known as the Diamonds Affair—that President Bokassa had offered the then Minister of Finance Valéry Giscard d'Estaing two diamonds in 1973.[38][39] The Franco-Central African relationship drastically changed when France's Renseignements Généraux intelligence service learned of Bokassa's willingness to become a partner of Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya. In early December 1979, the French council officially stopped all support to Bokassa.

After a meeting with Qadhafi in September 1976, Bokassa converted to Islam and changed his name to Salah Eddine Ahmed Bokassa, but in December 1976 he converted back to the Catholicism. It is presumed that this was a ploy calculated to ensure ongoing Libyan financial aid. When no funds promised by Gaddafi were forthcoming, Bokassa abandoned his new faith. It also was incompatible with his plans to be crowned emperor in the Catholic cathedral in Bangui.

Proclamation of the Empire

In September 1976, Bokassa dissolved the government and replaced it with the Conseil de la Révolution Centrafricaine 'Central African Revolutionary Council'. On 4 December 1976, at the MESAN congress, Bokassa instituted a new constitution and declared the republic a monarchy, the Central African Empire. He issued an imperial constitution, announced his conversion back to Catholicism and had himself crowned "S.M.I. Bokassa 1er", with S.M.I. standing for Sa Majesté Impériale: "His Imperial Majesty", on 4 December 1977. Bokassa's full title was Empereur de Centrafrique par la volonté du peuple Centrafricain, uni au sein du parti politique national, le MESAN ("Emperor of Central Africa by the will of the Central African people, united within the national political party, the MESAN"). His regalia, lavish coronation ceremony and regime were largely inspired by Napoleon I, who had converted the French Revolutionary Republic of which he was First Consul into the First French Empire. The coronation ceremony was estimated to cost his country roughly 20 million US dollars.[35]

Bokassa attempted to justify his actions by claiming that creating a monarchy would help Central Africa "stand out" from the rest of the continent, and earn the world's respect. The coronation consumed one third of the CAR's annual budget and all of France's aid that year, but despite generous invitations, no foreign leaders attended the event. Many thought Bokassa was insane, and compared his egotistical extravagance with that of Africa's other well-known eccentric dictator, Idi Amin. Tenacious rumors that he occasionally consumed human flesh were found unproven during his eventual trial.

Although it was claimed that the new empire would be a constitutional monarchy, no significant democratic reforms were made, and suppression of dissenters remained widespread. Torture was said to be especially rampant, with allegations that even Bokassa himself occasionally participated in beatings.



By January 1979, French support for Bokassa had all but eroded after riots in Bangui led to a massacre of civilians.[40] Between 17 April and 19 April a number of elementary school students were arrested after they had protested against wearing the expensive, government-required school uniforms. Around one hundred were killed.[41] Bokassa allegedly participated in the massacre, beating some of the children to death with his cane. However, the initial reports received by Amnesty International indicated only that the school students suffocated or were beaten to death while being forced into a small cell following their arrest.

The massive press coverage which followed the deaths of the students opened the way for a successful coup which saw French troops (in "Opération Barracuda") restore former president David Dacko to power while Bokassa was away in Libya on 20 September 1979.

Operation Barracuda

C-160 Transall

Transall transport aircraft

Bokassa's overthrow by the French government was called "France's last colonial expedition" ("la dernière expédition coloniale française") by veteran French diplomat Jacques Foccart. Operation Barracuda began the night of 20 September and ended early the next morning. An undercover commando squad from the French intelligence agency SDECE (now DGSE), joined by Special Forces' 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, or 1er RPIMa, led by Colonel Brancion-Rouge, landed by Transall and managed to secure the Bangui Mpoko airport. Upon arrival of two more transport aircraft, a message was sent to Colonel Degenne to come in with his Barracudas (codename for eight Puma helicopters and Transall aircraft), which took off from N'Djamena military airport in neighbouring Chad.[42]

Fall of the empire

By 12:30 p.m. on 21 September, the pro-French Dacko proclaimed the fall of the Central African Empire. David Dacko remained president until he was overthrown on 1 September 1981 by André Kolingba.

Bokassa fled to Ivory Coast where he spent four years living in Abidjan. He then moved to France where he was allowed to settle in his house at Haudricourt, west of Paris. France gave him political asylum because of the French Foreign Legion obligations.[35]

Trial and death

Bokassa had been sentenced to death in absentia in December 1980 for the murder of numerous political rivals.[43] However he returned from exile in France on 24 October 1986. He was arrested and tried for treason, murder, cannibalism and embezzlement. Following an emotional trial that lasted seven months he was acquitted of the cannibalism charges but was convicted of the remaining charges and sentenced to death on 12 June 1987.[44][45] His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in February 1988 by President André Kolingba and then reduced further to twenty years. With the return of democracy in 1993, Kolingba declared a general amnesty for all prisoners as one of his final acts as President, and Bokassa was released on 1 August.

At the end of his life he proclaimed himself the 13th Apostle and claimed to have secret meetings with the Pope. He died of a heart attack on 3 November 1996 in Bangui, at the age of 75. He had 17 wives and a reported 50 children.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Titley 1997, p. 7.
  2. Titley 1997, p. 6.
  3. Appiah & Gates 1999, p. 278.
  4. French, Howard W. (5 November 1996), "Jean-Bedel Bokassa, Self-Crowned Emperor Of the Central African Republic, Dies at 75", The New York Times,, retrieved 2008-06-30 .
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Titley 1997, p. 8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Titley 1997, p. 9.
  7. Delpey 1981, pp. 166–167.
  8. Garrison, Lloyd (7 January 1966), "Coups, Dahomey Style", The New York Times: 2 .
  9. Titley 1997, pp. 9–10.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Titley 1997, p. 10.
  11. Titley 1997, p. 23, a rank equivalent to major.
  12. Bokassa 1985, p. 21.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Titley 1997, p. 24.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Péan 1977, p. 15.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Titley 1997, p. 25.
  16. van de Walle, Nicholas (July 1991), "The Decline of the Franc Zone: Monetary Politics in Francophone Africa", African Affairs (Oxford University Press) 90 (360): 383–405, doi:10.2307/722938 (inactive 2009-09-20), .
  17. Lee 1969, p. 100.
  18. Decalo 1973, p. 220.
  19. Bokassa 1985, p. 24.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 Titley 1997, p. 26.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Titley 1997, p. 27.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Titley 1997, p. 28.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Titley 1997, p. 33.
  24. "Army Chief of Staff Seizes Power in Upper Volta", The New York Times: 6, 5 January 1966 .
  25. Titley 1997, p. 34.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Titley 1997, p. 35.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Titley 1997, p. 29.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Titley 1997, p. 30.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Titley 1997, p. 41.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Titley 1997, p. 42.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Titley 1997, p. 43.
  32. "Central Africans Execute Official", The New York Times: 20, 14 April 1969 .
  33. "Lord High Everything", Time, 4 May 1974,,9171,944776,00.html?promoid=googlep, retrieved 2008-08-04 .
  34. Powers, Jonathan (2001), Like Water on Stone: The Story of Amnesty International, Boston, Massachusetts: Northeastern University Press, p. 88, ISBN 1-55553-487-2, OCLC 45845483 .
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Lentz 1994.
  36. Kalck 2005, p. xxxv.
  37. Bokassa's video interview with Lionel Chomarat & Jean-Claude Chuzeville.
  38. Hoyle, Russ (30 March 1981), "A Campaign Catches Fire", Time,,9171,922507-2,00.html/, retrieved 2008-03-10 .
  39. Fuller, Thomas (28 February 2008), "But ex-president's past looms large : Giscard's new role at heart of Europe", International Herald Tribune,, retrieved 2008-03-10 .
  40. Martin Meredith, The Fate of Africa, p. 230.
  41. Papa in the Dock Time Magazine
  42. Les diamants de la trahison, Jean-Barthélémy Bokassa, Pharos/Laffont, 2006
  44. Christenson 1991, p. 37.


External links

Jean-Bédel Bokassa
Born: 22 February 1921 Died: 3 November 1996
Political offices
Preceded by
David Dacko
President of Central African Republic
1 January 1966 – 4 December 1976
became Emperor
Title next held by
David Dacko
Regnal titles
New title
Empire declared
Emperor of the Central African Empire
4 December 1976 – 20 September 1979
Monarchy abolished


New title


Succeeded by
Crown Prince Jean-Bédel

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