Jean-Bedel Bokassa

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Bokassa, Jean-Bedel


Born Feb. 22, 1921, in Bobangi. Statesman of the Central African Republic; brigadier general (since December 1967).

From 1939 to 1962, Bokassa served in the French Army. In 1960 he was appointed chief of the military cabinet in the office of the president of the Central African Republic. Since 1964 he has been chief of the armed forces general staff. Since Jan. 1, 1966, he has been president of the republic and head of government. He simultaneously holds (1970) the positions of minister of national defense, minister of information, and chief of the armed forces general staff and is head of the party Movement for Social Evolution in Black Africa. In July 1970 he made an official visit to the USSR.

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A new self-styled emperor appeared in Central Africa many years later when Bokasa declared himself emperor because he was fascinated by Napoleon and wanted to become like him.
Also humorously sinister is the fact that Giscard kept for himself the diamonds of Bokasa (a deposed "emperor" of some Central African country) when he was president of France; the diamonds should have gone to the treasury of the country.