African dictator's French chateau goes on sale

16th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A French chateau overlooking the river Seine where Africa's most ruthless dictator lived after French paratroopers ousted him is up for auction at a starting price of 735,000 euros (970,000 dollars).

Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the former self-proclaimed emperor of Central Africa who died in 1996, moved to Hardricourt chateau just outside Paris in 1983, after four years in exile in Ivory Coast following his overthrow by French troops in 1979.

The 550 square-metre residence comes with a gardener's lodge, a tree-lined park and a double garage, according to a website where court-ordered property sales are advertised.

Bokassa's son Georges called Tuesday 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 else 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 Central African President Francois Bozize, who seized power in a coup in 2003, formally rehabilitated him earlier this month.

© 2010 AFP

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