French neo-colonial war in Central African Republic


This video says about itself:

The Central African Empire was a monarchial regime that existed between 1976 and 1979 in what had been the Central African Republic. It came about when the President Jean-Bedel Bokassa declared himself Emperor in Napoleonic fashion and then staged a massive coronation for himself, all done in French Napoleonic style.

The world was somewhat shocked at this, some countries playing along and others dismissing the self-proclaimed Emperor as a mad man. Bokassa argued that, as an empire, the country would be more stable, more glamorous and attract more attention. That, it certainly did, but stability was not forthcoming and in due time Bokassa was driven out and the republic restored.

Central African emperor-dictator Bokassa meets French President Giscard d'Estaing

On this photo, Central African emperor-dictator Bokassa meets a close ally, French President Giscard d’Estaing. Bokassa gave Giscard gifts of diamonds and ivory. This corruption scandal with that dictator contributed to Giscard losing his re-election bid in the 1981 elections.

By Kumaran Ira in France:

French war in Central African Republic intensifies humanitarian crisis

16 December 2013

On Friday, French Defense Minister Jean Yves Le Drian visited the Central African Republic (CAR) to hold talks with the country’s interim leaders amid the ongoing French intervention and escalating violence in the country. He spoke with French soldiers and also with CAR President Michel Djotodia, who is supported by the Seleka militia.

France’s Operation Sangaris began after the UN Security Council voted a France-sponsored resolution on December 5, authorizing French and African intervention ostensibly to prevent humanitarian crises and halt rising sectarian violence. Some 2,500 African Union (AU) troops functioning as French proxies have been deployed—a number slated to increase to 6,000.

Speaking to French soldiers in the CAR capital, Bangui, Le Drian said that the “spiral of confrontation has seriously worsened,” producing a “humanitarian crisis” and the risk of “anarchy” in the region if it attracted criminal and terrorist groups.

Le Drian’s statement was a tacit admission that the basis of the French intervention in CAR is a political fraud. Supposedly launched to halt violence between majority Christians and minority Muslims, France’s war in its resource-rich, strategically located former colony is fuelling violence between Christian militias and the Muslim Seleka forces backed by Paris.

Le Drian’s visit came after French President François Hollande’s December 10 visit and the death of two French soldiers on December 9 amid heavy clashes with militias in Bangui.

French military spokesman Colonel Gilles Jaron explained, “The two soldiers had been part of a team inspecting an area east of Bangui’s airport close to midnight on Monday before a disarmament operation.” According to Jaron, “gunmen fired on the French patrol, which returned fire.” Both soldiers subsequently died at the hospital.

Speaking in the CAR, Hollande claimed that his administration’s policy of disarming warring groups and restoring stability is essential to avoiding more bloodshed: “France knew it would be dangerous, but it is necessary to avoid carnage.”

Covering up French imperialism’s predatory interests in the region, Hollande cynically added: “France is not here in the Central African Republic out of any self-interest… France has come to defend human dignity.”

Hollande’s comment epitomizes the Orwellian propaganda of his Socialist Party (PS). Rather, French imperialism—having intervened in Syria to support criminal and terrorist forces linked to Al Qaeda, that Le Drian claims to be fighting in CAR—is intervening yet again in an impoverished former colony where it has a long history of reactionary intrigue.

This history includes French support to the dictatorship of Jean-Bédel Bokassa, whom French imperialism ousted in the 1979 coup codenamed Operation Barracuda; the 2002 installation in Operation Boali of Bozizé, whom it defended with 2006 bombings aimed at Djotodia’s forces; and finally France’s latest swing behind the Seleka forces.

While Hollande tries to wrap his wars in the tattered mantle of “human rights,” other political representatives of French imperialism make no bones about the strategic interests Paris is advancing. Christian Jacob, who heads the right-wing Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) group in France’s National Assembly, told a radio interviewer on Wednesday: “The CAR military operation is essential, given the country’s strategic location in the heart of Africa.”

The humanitarian crisis and sectarian violence devastating the CAR are primarily the result of Paris’ bloody pursuit of its imperialist interests in its former colony, backing Seleka’s ouster of CAR President François Bozizé in March. Paris aimed to seize the strategically located country in the centre of the African continent and destroy China’s rising influence in Bangui. China had made several key deals with the CAR under Bozizé, including on oil contracts and military cooperation.

France’s direct intervention into the CAR has intensified the violence. More than 600 people have been killed in the last week and over 160,000 people had fled their homes in Bangui alone, according to UN reports.

CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye acknowledged, “Religious communities that have always lived together in perfect harmony are now massacring each other. The situation must be stopped as soon as possible.”

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards said: “There are frequent reports of indiscriminate attacks against civilians, recruitment of child soldiers, sexual and gender-based violence, looting and destruction of property.” He added that 160 people were also reported to have been killed in other parts of CAR.

Sectarian clashes were also reported in several towns, including Bouca, Bossangoa and Bozoum, with 27 Muslims reported to have been killed by Christian self-defence militias, known as anti-balaka, in the village of Bohong on December 12.

Contacts have reportedly begun between Djotodia and the “anti-balaka” militias in an effort to negotiate some type of truce. Djotodia told RFI radio that “he was ready to extend his hand” to rival Christian forces.

France’s intervention is supported by Britain and the United States. Britain’s Royal Air Force has offered two large C-17 transport planes to help deploy French troops and armoured cars to the CAR.

Washington is deploying two aircraft and a command team to nearby Uganda in support of French operations in the CAR. US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has authorized military transport aircraft to carry troops from Burundi to the CAR.

On December 9, a US official told Reuters the Pentagon has received requests for logistical support to bolster French and AU troops. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said US military support would likely resemble the assistance that the Pentagon has provided France during its war in Mali. That included airlift assistance and intelligence sharing.

Yesterday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that France would ask for more help from European Union (EU) member states to help it wage war in CAR. “That is a real, big problem,” Fabius told Europe1 radio. “Tomorrow, I’ll go to the Council of Foreign Ministers and I will ask for stepped-up, more robust aid, including on the ground.”

When it launched its military intervention in the CAR a week ago, the Hollande administration claimed that it would only last about six months. However, analysts pointed out that it could last far longer.

African specialist Roland Marchal of the Paris-based National Centre for Scientific Research said “It’s an illusion—as it was an illusion in Mali to declare the war was over, that French soldiers would be back home soon… We have more than 2,000 soldiers [still in Mali], though Francois Hollande promised that only 1,000 would be there by the end of the year.”

EMILE SCHEPERS examines the French history of meddling in central Africa: here.

Mali dictator victims’ mass grave discovered


This France24 video says about itself:

Mali coup leader Sanogo charged with murder

27 Nov 2013

General Amadou Sanogo, leader of a March 2012 coup that plunged Mali into chaos, was on Wednesday jailed on suspicion of murder and complicity to murder, just hours after soldiers forcibly entered his Bamako residence to arrest him.

General Amadou Sanogo, who led the March 2012 coup that plunged Mali into chaos, was jailed on suspicion of murder and complicity to murder on Wednesday, a judicial source said.

Investigating judge Yaya Karembe ordered Sanogo’s arrest and then charged him, just hours after several dozen Malian soldiers forcibly entered Sanogo’s residence in central Bamako to arrest him.

The former junta leader has repeatedly ignored summons by the justice ministry to answer questions related to the deaths of six people during an army protest.

Mali‘s newly-elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is under pressure to restore the state’s authority over both the army, which carried out last year’s coup, and the north, which was occupied by a mix of separatist and Islamist rebels.

A Bamako-based diplomat said that Sanogo was also wanted for questioning over the deaths and disappearances of soldiers who tried to resist his coup last year.

Detained by force

An AFP journalist who witnessed Sanogo’s detention said several dozen Malian soldiers forcibly entered Sanogo’s residence in central Bamako, escorted him outside and drove him away.

“He was refusing to appear before the judge. So we came to carry out a warrant for his transferral,” one of the soldier[s] said.

Sanogo last year led a group of mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Toure, upending what had been considered one of west Africa’s flagship democracies.

The coup precipitated the fall of northern Mali to militants linked to al Qaeda, but an intervention by French and African troops in January chased the rebels from the region’s main cities.

In May last year, Sanogo and his former junta were granted a general amnesty and the captain received the status of former head of state, with all the accompanying benefits. That status was later withdrawn, but Sanogo then leapt from the rank of captain to general in August after the presidential election.

Human Rights Watch described his promotion as a “shameful act” and argued that the former captain should have been investigated for alleged involvement in torture.

From AFP news agency:

Twenty-one bodies found in Mali mass grave

BAMAKO – Agence France Presse

Twenty-one bodies were found overnight Tuesday in a mass grave near Bamako, believed to be the remains of soldiers close to Mali‘s ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure, officials said.

“We have found 21 bodies, probably of ‘red beret’ soldiers, in a mass grave in Diago. The bodies were exhumed,” a Malian justice ministry official said. A security official told AFP that “identity cards found in the mass grave seem to confirm that they were missing ‘red beret’ soldiers.” The discovery near the capital Bamako comes a week after the arrest and detention of Amadou Haya Sanogo, leader of the March 22, 2012 coup against Toure that plunged Mali into chaos.

The government says Sanogo has been charged with complicity in kidnappings, but a source close to the judge in the case told AFP the charges also include murder, complicity to murder and carrying out kidnappings.

Fifteen people, mainly soldiers from his inner circle, were arrested immediately after him.

Sanogo’s coup toppled what had been heralded as one of west Africa’s most stable democracies and precipitated a crisis in which Al-Qaeda-linked groups seized control of the country’s north, enforcing a brutal form of Islamic law until a French-led military intervention forced them out.

In the months that followed, Sanogo’s then-headquarters in the central town of Kati were the scene of abuses and killings carried out against soldiers seen as loyal to Toure.

Some 20 “red berets” were killed by Sanogo’s followers in a failed counter-coup on April 30, 2012. Their bodies were never recovered. An aide to judge Yaya Karembe, who brought the charges against Sanogo, said investigators were led to the mass grave site by his former followers.

“In the past three weeks Sanogo’s former companions had given us precise information about the mass grave,” he told AFP at the cordon set up by security forces near the grave.

“But I wish to be cautious,” he said. “We need further analysis to determine if they are indeed ‘red berets’.” …

Sanogo was controversially promoted from captain to lieutenant-general in August, prompting fellow ex-junta members also seeking promotion to mutiny at his Kati barracks and forcing the army to intervene.

The bodies of three missing soldiers were subsequently discovered in and around the barracks and around 20 officers, including Sanogo’s former deputy, were arrested.

Sanogo still commands support in some circles, including parts of the army, but Defence Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga — part of a new government sworn in after presidential elections last summer — said this week he would not hinder the court case against him.

December/04/2013

What does this AFP article forget to mention? What does the France24 video forget to mention?

1. Bloody military dictator Sanogo was educated by the United States military command for Africa, AFRICOM.

2. The military invasion of Mali by foreign troops (mainly French; now, including Dutch etc.) was originally to help and prop up Mr Sanogo’s cruel regime.

Sorting out Mali isn’t our job, France says: here.