The French National Day has particular significance this year for some fourteen African countries who gained independence from France in 1960. Troops from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo, who each comprised of forty elements, opened the military march past.
To watch the historical event was the French President Nicolas SARKOZY, the Cameroonian President Paul BIYA seated to his left, as well as all the African Heads of State present in Paris and their wives. Madam Chantal BIYA and Carla BRUNI-SARKOZY were also in attendance.
Despite the down pour of rain, the impressive military march past went on as planned with military precision. It started with a musical parade of African music, with 13 flag bearers and 26 drummers, followed by the march past of the African armies in (French) alphabetical order.
The Cameroonian Army was represented by a detachment of the airborne Battalion of Koutaba, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Severin EYENGA. At the end of the march past of African armies, there was a round of applause from the Heads of State and First Ladies present.
The French army then had their traditional foot and motorised march past, with military jets occasionally flying over the Champs Elysées Avenue. Parachutists dressed in African, French and European Union flags were also dropped on the ceremonial grounds at the Place de Concorde. The 13 African leaders were also presented with their national flags at the end of the march past.