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Exiles Unwelcome Homecoming

1 minute read

In 1977 an ex-soldier named Jean-Bedel Bokassa declared himself Emperor of the Central African Empire and spent $22 million on his coronation. Two years later he reportedly approved the massacre of some 100 children who had failed to buy correct school uniforms. Soon afterward, Bokassa was ousted in a coup backed by France, where he later settled. Back home he was tried in absentia and sentenced to death.

Last week Bokassa secretly left France and returned to the capital of Bangui. He was promptly arrested. The homecoming set off speculation that after years of unhappy exile, Bokassa hoped to spark a coup against the government of General Andre Kolingba. Bokassa has placed Kolingba in a quandary: he must now decide whether to execute the former Emperor.

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