Bob Denard

From Academic Kids

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"Colonel" Bob Denard, known in Arabic as Said Mustapha Mahdjoub (born April 7, 1929 as Gilbert Bourgeaud in Bordeaux, France) is perhaps the most famous and influential mercenary in the last fifty years.

Denard served with the French forces in Indochina and then in Morocco before going private in the early 1960s. He found plenty of work with the tumultuous de-colonization of Africa and the battle against communism in the region. Denard is known to have participated in conflicts in Zimbabwe, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Angola, Zaire and the Comoros. For most of his career Denard had the quiet backing of France and the French secret services which wished to maintain French influence over its ex-colonies.

His "favorite" targets were the Comoros. He has overthrown the government of this small island group four times. The first president, Ahmed Abdallah, was ousted by Ali Soilih, who came to power with help of Denard in the first coup, just after independence. Denard, however, helped Abdallah to restore his power in the second coup in 1978, in which Solih was killed under mysterious circumstances on May 29, 1978.

For ten years he headed Abdallah's 500-strong presidential guard and had strong influence and business interests in the archipelago, eventually becoming a citizen of the country.

In May, 1999, Denard had to face charges of homicide for his role in the third coup in 1989, in which, according to the French prosecution, Abdallah was killed on the orders of Denard because he was about to remove him as head of the presidential guard. The prosecution said President Abdallah was shot on orders of Denard during a faked attack on his palace on the night of November 26, 1989. Denard and one of his top lieutenants, Dominique Malacrino, were however acquitted because of a lack of evidence.

Denard was arrested in 1995 when he attempted to launch a fourth coup in the Comoros without French backing. The French government sent an expeditionary force to counter Denard and he was apprehended, and spent ten months in a Paris jail. At his trial a number of former Gaullist politicians spoke on his behalf.

He is the father of eight children and has been married seven times (polygamously).

More on the Denard coups on the Comoros can be found at History of Comoros.

External links

  • [1] ( More on the 1995 Azalee Operation


  • [2] ( More on the 1989 Coup
  • [3] ( The outcome of the trial the Denard proces of 1995de:Bob Denard

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