A heavy security guard was on hand when a fact-finding mission from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) arrived in Djibouti, capital of the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas on Friday (30 April).
GV airport buildings
GV Helicopter arrives (2 shots)
SV PAN French High Commissioner and President Ali Aref Bourhan walking towards helicopter
SV and CU two men greeting OAU mission (3 shots)
SVs and GV party across tarmac (3 shots)
SV security guard on tarmac
TRAVEL SHOT party leaving airport in cars along roads lined by heavily guarded crowds
TRAVEL SHOT thorough mass crowds and heavy security presence (2 shots)
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Background: A heavy security guard was on hand when a fact-finding mission from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) arrived in Djibouti, capital of the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas on Friday (30 April).
The eight-man team were to discuss the territory's independence, with several rival groups within the country.
Heavily armed troops provided constant protection for the mission during its visit. At several points thousands of rival supporters lined the route. France plans to give independence to the Territory at a still unspecified date. During its tour of the region, the OAU mission also had talks with the neighbouring Somalie Government, which has claims on the area, and with the Front for the Liberation of the Somali Coast (FLCS). which is campaigning for the French to leave the territory. It was the Front which earlier this year kidnapped a bus-load of French schoolchildren as part of its campaign.
The mission made no statement on arrival but it is understood to have visited the site on the border where the kidnapped children were held hostage.
Meanwhile the French, conscious of the strategic importance of the Territory, have increased their use of the port facilities at Djibouti for major units of their recently reinforced Indian Ocean fleet. France plans to retain naval facilities at Djibouti after independence.
Djibouti also has increased in commercial importance since the reopening of the Suez Canal. As well as being the principal port for Ethiopia, Saudi arabia has also started using storage facilities in Djibouti for its exports of crude oil.