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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

Civil society coalition spoke up against constitutional change which could pave way for President Touadéra’s third term; operations against rebel groups continued. New civil society coalition Groupe d’Action des Organisations de la Société Civile pour la Défense de la Constitution du 30 Mars 2016 (G-16) 8 June called on President Touadéra to drop bill (introduced in late May) proposing constitutional amendments; coalition – which includes civil society and other leading figures, such as Joseph Bindoumi, president of Central African League of Human Rights – expressed concerns about removal of two-term presidential limit, which could pave way for Touadéra’s third term. Former President François Bozizé, exiled in Chad since early 2021, 20 June published declaration calling for political transition without Touadéra. Meanwhile, fighting between govt forces and rebel groups continued. Notably, local youth 11 June formed self-defence group in Ndiki village (Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture, centre) and attacked rebel group Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement (CPC) elements in area, leaving two youth and two rebels dead. Unité pour la Paix en Centrafrique (UPC) rebels 23 June attacked army positions in Bakouma village (Mbomou prefecture, south east), leaving six rebels and one civilian dead. Govt forces and allied Russian paramilitary Wagner group continued abuses against civilians. Notably, in Ouaka prefecture (east), army and Wagner mercenaries 12 June set fire to mosque in Nguekpa village after CPC rebels took refuge there, killing four men and injuring two women; army 13-14 June killed 20 rebels and wounded 30, including civilians, in attack on CPC positions in Sébagoudé village. CPC elements 23 June attacked army position in Bakouma, Mbomou prefecture, which national forces subsequently repelled with support from UN mission in CAR (MINUSCA). UN humanitarian agency 1 June reported increase in security incidents targeting humanitarian workers, with 69 incidents since Jan 2022; MINUSCA head Valentine Rugwabiza 22 June highlighted CAR’s unstable security situation and condemned “violence against opposition leaders” in address to UN Security Council. Internationally, PM Félix Moloua 14 June travelled to Russia for Saint-Petersburg Economic Forum to strengthen cooperation with Russia, including in mining sector.

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Reports & Briefings

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 back in the country. Foreign Policy

Hans De Marie Heungoup

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 rebels]. Financial Times

Hans De Marie Heungoup

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

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 centrafricaine. Le Monde

Hans De Marie Heungoup

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, Sahel (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

Senior Analyst, Central Africa

Latest Updates

Commentary / Africa

Picking up the Pieces in the Central African Republic

The risk of an entrenched political and security crisis remains high in the Central African Republic following December’s contested elections. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2021 for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the EU and France to press the government and opposition to halt heated rhetoric and nudge the many parties toward talks.

Report / Africa

Réduire les tensions électorales en République centrafricaine

En République centrafricaine, le bon déroulement des élections de décembre 2020 sera essentiel au maintien de la stabilité du pays. Le gouvernement et l’opposition devraient apaiser les tensions, les partenaires internationaux soutenir un vote crédible et les acteurs régionaux inciter les groupes armés à cesser les violences pendant la période électorale.

Also available in English
Our Journeys / Africa

In Search of the State in the Central African Republic

A February 2019 agreement is the latest in a string of attempts to bring peace to the Central African Republic. Will it hold? Crisis Group expert Hans de Marie Heungoup goes to the country to find out, along with photographer Julie David de Lossy.

Also available in Français
Report / Africa

Making the Central African Republic’s Latest Peace Agreement Stick

A deal to end six years of war in the Central African Republic could come unglued if not strengthened. The government should hold signatory armed groups accountable to criteria for improved behaviour and back local peace initiatives. Neighbours should push armed groups to cease provocations.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2019

In 2019, the African Union faces many challenges, with conflicts old and new simmering across the continent. To help resolve these crises – our annual survey lists seven particularly pressing ones – the regional organisation should also push ahead with institutional reforms.

Also available in Français