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Vol 38 No 20

Published 10th October 1997

Central African Republic

French leave

As Paris ends military aid for Patasse, he turns to France's bogeyman – Laurent Kabila

On 23 September, a team from France's Defence Ministry arrived in Bangui to prepare the French troop withdrawal. The team, led by General Serge Sabathe and still in CAR as we went to press, included logistics experts plus men from the special services, military intelligence and external intelligence, the Direction Générale de la Surveillance Extérieure. Their task was not only to tackle the mechanics of closing the bases, home to around 1,000 men, mainly Foreign Legionnaires, but also to talk to President Ange-Félix Patassé about a future without French soldiers to lean on.

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