African dictator s French chateau sells for $1.2 million

January 12, 2011

, VERSAILLES, Jan 12, 2011 – A French chateau where Africa\’s most ruthless dictator Jean-Bedel Bokassa lived after French paratroopers ousted him was auctioned Wednesday for 915,000 euros ($1.2 million).

An individual bought the residence of Bokassa, the late self-proclaimed emperor of Central Africa, for "his own and his family\’s personal use," the buyer\’s lawyer said, declining to give the man\’s identity.

Bokassa, who died in 1996, moved to Hardricourt chateau overlooking the river Seine near Paris in 1983, after four years in exile in Ivory Coast following his overthrow by French troops in 1979.

The 550 square-metre (6,000 square-feet) residence, which comes with a gardener\’s lodge, a tree-lined park and a double garage, was ordered by a court to be sold.

Bokassa\’s son Georges, who was present at the sale, had earlier called on French President Nicolas Sarkozy to intervene to prevent what he called the plundering of his family\’s heritage.

Bokassa, who came to power in 1965, was accused of having his political rivals killed and then cooked and served to visiting foreign dignitaries or fed to lions and crocodiles in his private zoo.

He was tried and sentenced to death in 1987 for atrocities committed under his rule but the current president of the Central African Republic, Francois Bozize, who seized power in a coup in 2003, formally rehabilitated him earlier this month.

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