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

Violence continued in several regions, Constitutional Court blocked President Touadéra’s plans to amend constitution, and authorities sought to avert budgetary crisis.

Insecurity persisted in Ouaka and Haute-Kotto prefectures, worsened in neighbouring Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture. In Ouaka, Russian paramilitary forces 4 Sept allegedly killed eight miners near Ndassima gold mine amid ban on gold trade in area since Russians started industrial exploitation of Ndassima in May 2021. In Haute-Kotto, rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) early Sept started regrouping around mining sites, leading to string of attacks; notably, CPC attack on Kpassoro village 13 Sept caused 500 people to flee to prefecture’s capital Bria. Despite late-Aug deployment of over 300 govt soldiers to deter rebel offensive in Bamingui-Bangoran, CPC 2 Sept attacked armed forces in Akroussoulback village, death toll unknown. Meanwhile, security forces continued arbitrary arrests, including of 40 people 12 Sept and of 90 others 22 Sept during search operations in capital Bangui’s third district.

Touadéra’s constitutional change bid suffered setback. Presidential decree 12 Sept appointed members of committee responsible for drafting new constitution, which could allow Touadéra to run for third term. Constitutional Court 23 Sept blocked process following appeal by civil society G-16 coalition, ruling 12 Sept decree as well as 26 Aug decree establishing constitutional drafting committee “unconstitutional”. Pressure on court mounted in lead-up to decision, with hundreds of govt supporters 8-9 Sept demonstrating in front of courthouse, calling for court members’ resignation and issuing death threats against its president, Daniele Darlan.

Govt took steps to address budgetary crisis. After late Aug voting to reduce state budget by 14%, National Assembly 1 Sept further compressed budget to compensate for suspension of international aid (to prevent it feeding Russian operations in country) and global economic downturn. Meanwhile, PM Félix Moloua 6 Sept created inter-ministerial committee to investigate irregularities in salary payments to state personnel, which were uncovered in Aug by audit of state personnel register.

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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

Former 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

Former, Senior Analyst, Central Africa

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