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Why Biya Sent Away Bozize 

By Yerima Kini Nsom — The former President of the Central African Republic, CAR, François Bozize, left Cameroon last Sunday, June 2 night where he had taken refuge following his overthrow in a military coup last March 24. The Post learnt that President Biya encouraged his former CAR colleague to leave after the interim Government in Bangui issued an international warrant of arrest for him.

Besides international pressure, President Biya sent away Bozize in order not to be blacklisted by the new Bangui strongman, Michel Djotadia. For one thing, Cameroon is expected to host an international conference on maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea from June 24-25.Experts hold that organising such a meeting with Bozize in Cameroon meant that the new Bangui strongman was not going to attend.

Such a situation would have also scared the Chadian President, Idriss Derby, who is a strong supporter of Michel Djotadia.  He was also likely going to boycott the conference. In the event of these two Presidents boycotting the conference, it would be a diplomatic fiasco to Cameroon. It was in this light that Biya asked Bozize to leave Cameroon. He is now said to be in exile in Benin where President Boni Yayi had promised to grant him asylum.

Other sources hold that it was the French President, François Hollande, who advised Biya to let the former CAR President go. It was reported that Hollande forestalled a clash between Idriss Derby and Paul Biya. The former is a supporter of the new Bangui strongman while the latter is a supporter of Bozize. Both Presidents are strategic partners to France.

Idriss Derby proved to be a credible ally to France during the onslaught against terrorism in northern Mali. President Biya remains a strategic partner given that his country is the main gateway for France in to the Central African Sub region. Before his departure last Sunday, Bozize lived in a Yaounde neighborhood called Golf, not far from the Unity Palace. With Bozize in Cameroon, Biya skillfully avoided having an audience with Michel Djotadia recently.

The international arrest warrant Bangui issued against Bozize accuses him of crimes against humanity and genocide. He is accused of 119 summary executions, 22 assassinations, 53 arbitrary arrests and the destruction of 3,823 residences. The arrest warrant was submitted to the International Police, Interpol, and the Cameroonian Judiciary last May 30.

First published in The Post print edition no 01438

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