The small West African Country of Benin is seeking action from the United Nations Security Council after publication of a report implicating France, Morocco and Gabon in an alleged mercenary raid earlier this year.
SV Benin delegate Thomas Boya speaking.
SV French delegate Jacques Le Prette speaking.
Initials VS 23.30
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Background: The small West African Country of Benin is seeking action from the United Nations Security Council after publication of a report implicating France, Morocco and Gabon in an alleged mercenary raid earlier this year. In January it was reported that an unmarked aircraft made an unauthorised landing at Cotonou Airport in Benin. An estimated 100 men, many of them white, left the plane, set up a commando post at the airport, then went into the capital to attack the Presidential Palace. They were repulsed and flew out of the country without their identity being immediately known.
SYNOPSIS: A three-man Security Council mission which investigated the raid has published a report which implicates Morocco as the alleged mercenary training ground; Gabon as the country for the attack launch, and France as the homeland of the raid leader. Benin representative Mr. Thomas Boya told the council on Tuesday (November 22) of the estimated 20 million U.S. dollars worth of damage caused by the invaders. Six Beninese were killed, 51 were wounded and two of the raiders died during the one-day attack.
Since becoming independent as Dahomey in August 1960, Benin has experienced six bloodless coups, plus this mystery attack. Benin's President, Lieutenant Colonel Kerekou came to power in 1972, set up a military council to govern the country, and created a Marxist Ruling Party.
Benin has a population of around three million and is surrounded by Nigeria, Niger, Upper Vote and Togo.
France's United Nations representative, Monsieur Jacques Le Prette denied French involvement in the invasion. Material found after the raid had raised doubts and rumours that France may have been involved but such suggestions were entirely without foundation and were unwarranted. Captured documents were reported to have named the raid leader as a Frenchman living in Bordeaux. Mr. Le Prette said all known particulars about this man had been investigated by the French authorities who had found that the man was totally unknown at the address cited. The French spokesman reiterated that his country was in no way associated with the mercenary raid.
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The Security Council has set aside two days to discuss the report and its implications.