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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

Govt forces and foreign allies faced mounting international scrutiny over alleged abuses, relations with France soured and deadly farmer-herder violence flared at border with Chad. Army, with Russian ally, pursued military offensive against rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), who continued to harass govt and allied forces through indirect confrontation, including targeting supply trucks and using IEDs along roadsides. Army 28 June reportedly repelled attack by rebel group Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC), which withdrew from CPC in April, on its positions in Alindao town, Basse-Kotto prefecture; seven killed. Meanwhile, govt troops and Russian paramilitaries faced international criticism for their conduct. Notably, report of UN Sec-Gen Guterres covering Feb-June developments 16 June decried abuses committed by armed groups, national army and “bilaterally deployed and other security personnel”; head of UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) Mankeur Ndiaye 23 June accused state forces of “recent widespread rights abuses” which “compromise any chance of establishing trust between citizens and their leaders”. Following legislative elections, President Touadéra 11 June appointed Finance Minister Henri-Marie Dondra as new PM; Dondra to replace Firmin Ngrébada, seen as key architect of country’s alliance with Moscow; Dondra 23 June formed new govt. France 8 June suspended military cooperation with govt and some €10mn in budgetary support over Bangui’s failure to set up political dialogue with opposition and “massive disinformation campaigns” against Paris. Attorney general next day confirmed he would prosecute French national arrested in May in capital Bangui on five counts including espionage, endangering state security and illegal possession of weapons. Following border clashes with Chad in May and N’Djamena’s announcement that it started to deploy reinforcements to areas bordering CAR on 31 May, both countries 1 June said they would set up “independent and impartial international commission of inquiry” to ascertain responsibilities. In deadliest farmer-herder violence in years, Chadian herders 10 June killed at least 15 civilians in Tiri village, Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture near border with Chad, prompting some 3,000 to flee; incident followed dispute same day between local farmer and Chadian herder, which left latter dead.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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, Central Africa
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
21 Aug 2018
Russia is intensifying its relationships in Africa and [the Central African Republic] is one of their entry points. The government is weak so it’s an easy target. Financial Times

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa

Latest Updates

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
Commentary / Africa

Central African Republic: Getting from Talks to Peace

The deadly threat posed by armed groups in the Central African Republic has led to severe displacement and food insecurity. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to support multi-level mediation by the African Union and to back local peace initiatives.

Also available in Français
Op-Ed / Africa

In the Central African Republic, Peace Requires More Than a Bigger U.N. Force

The U.N. Security Coucil approved a resolution to extend the mandate of the U.N. Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 15 November 2018, also increasing the mission’s troop ceiling by 900. Richard Moncrieff, Project Director for Central Africa, states that the Central African Republic needs more than just troops to meet the country's security challenges.

Originally published in World Politics Review

Report / Africa

Avoiding the Worst in Central African Republic

Resurgent armed groups in Central African Republic are killing many civilians and causing widespread displacement. Government forces and the UN are in a weak position, and there are no quick solutions. To contain the violence, the government and international actors must agree on a roadmap for peace with armed groups that combines both incentives and coercive measures. 

Also available in Français