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Bob Denard

Bob Denard, a.k.e Said Mustapha Mahdjoub a.k.e. Colonel Denard (born 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 Morroco before going private in the early 60s. He found planety 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. He is responsible for untold numbers of deaths and contributed greatly to the destabilization of Africa that continues today. For most of his carreer Denard had the quiet backing of France and the French secret services which wished to maintain French influence over its ex-colonies.

His "favorite" target 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 changes 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 26 November, 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 is married seven times (bigamous).

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

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