Operation Caban was a military operation without any blood shedding that was launched in September 1979 by the French to install the exiled David Dacko by overthrowing Jean-Bédel Bokassa who had resorted to dictatorial rule in the Central African Empire from January 1979.
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By January 1979, Emperor Bokassa had become such an autocratic ruler that he passed in injunction that all students of high schools should wear a uniform made in his factory. This led to an agitation by the students in Bangui. Bokassa called in the army to put down the agitation. In April 1979, Bokassa ordered the arrest of young students (included adolescents and children) who were throwing stones at his car and put them behind bars. In the following two days about 100 children were brutally killed in the jails and the incident was known as the “Children’s Massacre at Bangui”. A panel of Judges of CAR soon intervened and proposed arrest and trial of Bokassa for this murder. Bokassa then went to Libya seeking Colonel Gaddafi’s help. The French reacted and soon intervened to overthrow Boksasa and install David Dacko as president, who was then in exile in Europe. They brought back Dacko with support of French troops who were moved from Gabon and Chad. The coup was successful; Dacko became the president and declared the country as the Central African Republic. Bokassa had fled to France. This over all operation was known as "Operation Caban" and the military operation by the French which was a bloodless operation was called the “Opération Barracuda” as it involved moving troops (Parachute Troops of Troupes deMarine) by the code named “Barracudas” squadron of four helicopters who completed the operation on 29 September 1979 in just a few hours. This operation did not bring any accolades to France. While many in CAR supported the coup, many in France including President Giscard were criticised for their handling of the situation with Bokossa.
Bokassa who subsequently came back to his country from France was arrested and charged with murder and sentenced to death which was later condoned to a life sentence.
- Matt Doeden (2009). Central African Republic in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-1-57505-952-5. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "The Bradshaw's Archives - Central African Republic / Ubangi-Shari". France's Relations With Africa. The Bradshaw's Archives: Ono.com. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Bokassa,Jean-Barthélémy. Saga Bokassa (in French). SODEPAR SAS. pp. 145–. ISBN 978-2-35808-071-2. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Alain Rouvez (1 January 1994). Disconsolate Empires: French, British and Belgian Military Involvement in Post-Colonial Sub-Saharan Africa. University Press of America. pp. 172–174. ISBN 978-0-8191-9643-9. Retrieved 25 July 2013.