President David Dacko of the Central African Republic was ousted yesterday by the Army almost two years after he overthrew his uncle, former emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa.
Radio Bangui said Dacko resigned at the request of Gen. Andre Kolingba, armed forces chief-of-staff. It said political parties and the constitution had been suspended in the impoverished, landlocked country of 2 million people.
According to a French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dacko's doctor said in a telephone call to Paris the president had resigned for health reasons.
Witnesses said soldiers had been patrolling the streets of the capital since early morning. But there have been no reports of fighting and the coup seems to have been bloodless.
French Defense Minister Charles Hernu said that the 1,400 French troops based there had been confined to barracks and would intervene only if French nationals were endangered.
Dacko was the republic's first president when it won independence from France in 1960. He was overthrown in 1965 by Bokassa, who later proclaimed the country an empire. Bokassa was overthrown in September 1979 by a French-backed coup that reinstated Dacko.
The country has been tense since elections in March that confirmed Dacko in the presidency.