What is today the Central African Republic has been inhabited since at least 8,000 BCE. The country's borders were established by France, which ruled the country as a colony starting in the late 19th century. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the Central African Republic was ruled by a series of autocratic leaders, including an abortive attempt at a monarchy.
By the 1990s, calls for democracy led to the first multi-party democratic elections in 1993. Ange-Félix Patassé became president, but was later removed by General François Bozizé in the 2003 coup. The Central African Republic Bush War began in 2004 and, despite a peace treaty in 2007 and another in 2011, civil war resumed in 2012. The civil war perpetuated the country's poor human rights record: it was characterized by widespread and increasing abuses by various participating armed groups, such as arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and restrictions on freedom of the press and freedom of movement. (Full article...)
Banza soon decided to stage a coup d'état. He confided in a few military officers, who he hoped would support his attempt to gain power. One of his confidants, Jean-Claude Mandaba, contacted the president and informed him of the date of the coup, 9 April 1969. Hours before he was going to execute his bid for power, Banza was ambushed by Mandaba and taken directly to Bokassa. Bokassa nearly beat Banza to death before Mandaba suggested that Banza be put on trial for appearance's sake. On 12 April, Banza presented his case to a military tribunal, which quickly sentenced him to death by firing squad. He was reportedly taken to an open field, where he was executed and buried in an unmarked grave. Alternate circumstances of Banza's death have been reported in Time and Le Monde. In the aftermath of the failed coup, Banza's family, mistress and close associates were all arrested and either sent to jail or deported. With Banza eliminated, Bokassa spent extravagantly and surrounded himself with adulators. (Full article...)