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witnesses recall the bombing on the first day of the trial

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                First day of hearing Monday March 29 in Paris at the Bouaké bombing trial.  On November 6, 2004, two Ivorian army planes targeted a French base in this town in Côte d'Ivoire, killing 10 and wounding 38.  The aircraft were piloted by Belarusian mercenaries and assisted by Ivorian co-pilots.  This day was devoted to the call of witnesses, the reminder of the facts and the first hearings.

                                    <p>With our special envoys to the Palais de Justice in Paris, <strong>Pierre Firtion and Laura Martel</strong>

Gérard Moricard, former commander of the provost brigade of Bouaké, tries to ” pick up memories despite the passage of time As the president enjoins. In short, he sketches the context: the tension linked to the offensive by loyalist forces; water, electricity and telephone cut off. He is in another French grip, 2 or 3 km away from the Lycée Descartes, when it is bombed. However, he will have to wait more than 3 hours to get there. The crowd has gathered around, but above all, he receives the order ” wait for the airspace to be secure ».

The ” chaos total »

On the spot, “ it was total chaos, the soldiers were in shock “. The ex-commander admits: he felt ” well alone […] without any directive », Because for 4 days, all communication is refused. “ The only satellite phone was that of the colonel He points out, cryptic.

For the investigator, there is no doubt: ” a target error quickly seemed completely impossible, the pilots knew they were hitting the French forces. “On the other hand, the ex-commander finds” curious ” that “ nothing was tried to stop the Belarusian pilots »Upon their return to Yamoussoukro airport, where he went 4 days later.

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« I heard the resentment of soldiers who said there was a way to stop them. They had taken refuge in a building at the airport. It would have been easy, but the orders shouldn’t have been given to that effect. But to hand them over to whom ? »He asks himself. Before conceding, “ it was complicated, the situation was very tense ».

►Also read: Trial of the bombing of Bouaké in Côte d’Ivoire: the expectations of the civil parties

« That the ministers assume »

Nicolas Bouron, for his part, was present during the bombardment. Tremolos in his voice, he tells the bar his day of November 6. The French camp which goes on alert for the takeoff of the 2 Sukhoi, the unexpected bombardment, its body propelled forward by the impact of the rockets and its attempt to come to the aid of one of its companions. For him too, no doubt, the act was completely deliberate.

What does he expect from this trial? The conviction of the accused. “ But what would have interested me more, adds this former soldier who has retained the aftermath of the bombardment, is that the ministers assume “. However, it is not yet certain that the political leaders of the time come to testify.

This afternoon, the fact of having had the light of the judicial part – the investigation made by the Ministry of the Interior – brought us facts that we did not know. Well, me anyway. I am waiting to see if other answers are given to my questions in the days to come.

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Ms. Delon, mother of a soldier who disappeared in Bouaké, on the hearing: “It was extremely difficult”

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, then head of government and Dominique de Villepin, former Minister of the Interior have not yet confirmed their arrival. Michèle Alliot-Marie, the former Minister of Defense, has indicated that she does not wish to testify. But the court intends to revive it. Because for the Advocate General, his presence at this trial is “ absolutely essential ».

Only Michel Barnier, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed his presence at court. Another important political figure assured that she would be right there: this is Michel de Bonnecorse, at the time head of the Africa cell of the Elysée.

►Also listen: Focus – The Bouaké bombing trial in Côte d’Ivoire opens at the Paris Assizes

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