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Obituaries | PASSINGS

David Dacko, 76; Central African Republic's Independence Leader

November 22, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

David Dacko, the first president of Central African Republic as an independent nation, has died at the age of 76, state radio said Friday.

Dacko died in neighboring Cameroon on Thursday, the radio reported, without stating the exact cause of death. He had been ailing for some time.

Dacko led Central African Republic from its 1960 independence from France until 1966, when he was overthrown and jailed by the notorious Cold War despot Jean-Bedel Bokassa.

He was reinstated after French troops deposed Bokassa in 1979, only to be forced out of power by the country's own military in 1981.

The Central African Republic, an impoverished nation of 3.7 million, has weathered nine coups and coup attempts since independence.

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