Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has been in turmoil since a violent takeover of power in 2013. The aftermath saw armed groups conclude a multitude of peace agreements even as they continued to fight each other and launch attacks on the civilian population. The latest agreement, sponsored by the African Union and signed in February 2019 by the government and fourteen armed groups, raised hopes of peace. The violence has not stopped, however, and political tensions are again on the rise. Through on-the-ground reporting and advocacy, Crisis Group provides concrete advice on how to navigate both the critical electoral period in late 2020 and the long term, focusing on how to persuade armed groups to lay down their weapons.

CrisisWatch Central African Republic

Unchanged Situation

Dispute persisted between pro-govt groups and opposition over constitutional referendum as authorities postponed local elections, and insecurity continued across country.

Constitutional revision process remained divisive. After ruling party late Oct called for constitutional referendum that would allow President Touadéra to run for third term, pro-govt movement Front Républicain 10 Nov addressed letter to Touadéra proposing 18 constitutional amendments. G-16 civil society coalition 1 Nov called for creation of “resistance council” against constitutional changes, while hundreds 5 Nov gathered in French capital Paris calling for Touadéra’s dismissal. Meanwhile, 16 opposition parties 18 Nov demanded guarantees that upcoming local and regional elections will not be combined with constitutional referendum, requested restructuring of National Electoral Authority (ANE), citing lack of neutrality. ANE 21 Nov postponed local and regional elections from 22 Jan to 16 July 2023 to allow for electoral roll’s revision.

MINUSCA’s mandate renewed amid tensions with France. Ahead of UN Security Council vote on renewal of UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA), FM Sylvie Baïpo-Temon 7 Nov declared draft resolution failed to reflect Central Africans’ “aspirations”, criticised France’s role as penholder; around same day withdrew symbolic title of dean of diplomatic corps traditionally given to French ambassador to Bangui, citing latter’s “discourtesy” toward Touadéra. Security Council 14 Nov renewed MINUSCA’s mandate for one year following tense debates, with Russia, China and Gabon abstaining.

Insecurity continued countrywide, notably at border with Chad. Russian paramilitaries 4 Nov raided Union of Patriots for Change rebel post in Blakadja village (Nana-Gribizi prefecture), leaving one rebel dead and four injured. Coalition of Patriots for Change rebels 19 Nov clashed with govt forces and allies in Kouango city (Ouaka prefecture), death toll unknown. Kidnapping for ransom reported throughout month. Notably, 3R rebels 8 Nov kidnapped three miners at Kombo-Nana site (Nana-Mambéré prefecture), freeing them after payment; unidentified armed elements 11 Nov abducted one civil servant and two UN personnel near Ndiffa locality (Vakaga prefecture). Unidentified assailants 24 Nov killed MINUSCA peacekeeper in Obo town (Haut-Mbomou prefecture). Govt said plane coming from border country overnight 27-28 Nov bombed base where govt forces and Russian allies were stationed in Bossangoa town (Ouham prefecture) near Chadian border, threatened retaliation.

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In The News

6 Apr 2022
Some [armed groups in the Central African Republic] currently think that the fight between Russia and Ukraine may distract Russian Wagner forces and allow them to come ba... Foreign Policy

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Former, Senior Analyst, Central Africa
26 Jan 2021
One could now say that the government [of the Central African Republic] is no longer on the back foot or the defensive position and has launched an offensive [against the... Financial Times

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Former, Senior Analyst, Central Africa
25 Jan 2021
[The blockade of Bangui in the Central African Republic was] a deliberate tactic to strangle the capital economically, to force the government to the negotiating table. The Guardian

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Former, Senior Analyst, Central Africa
19 Jan 2021
Au lieu de réconcilier les Centrafricains, les élections présidentielle et législatives ont, en effet, davantage polarisé le paysage politique et la société centrafricain... Le Monde

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Former, Senior Analyst, Central Africa
13 Jan 2021
It seems likely that [the rebels’] intention is to cause trouble and to push the United Nations to defend Bangui, therefore leaving provincial towns vulnerable. Associated Press

Richard Moncrieff

Project Director, Great Lakes (Interim)
23 Dec 2020
If the elections are not conducted very well, they have the potential to spoil even the very little stability that the [Central Africa Republic] has got. Financial Times

Hans De Marie Heungoup

Former, Senior Analyst, Central Africa

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