In the Central African Republic (CAR), the status quo that followed President Touadéra’s investiture in March 2016 is increasingly fragile. Tensions are rising as negotiations on the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of armed groups – the Gordian knot of the crisis – have reached a stalemate. International partners attending the donor conference for CAR on 17 November in Brussels must do all they can to ward off a further attempt to destabilise or even overthrow the current political leadership.
Armed group violence continued in particular in centre and east as disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process remained stalled. Ex-Seleka factions clashed mid-Jan on Ippy-Bria axis (east) and in Morouba and Bakala (centre). Unidentified assailants 5 Jan killed UN peacekeeper at Bokayai, Ouham-Pendé prefecture. In SE, unidentified attackers 3 Jan killed two UN peacekeepers 60km west of Obo. After ex-Seleka and anti-balaka leaders met Angolan President dos Santos in Dec, President Touadéra met dos Santos in Luanda, Angolan capital 11 Jan. Touadéra 12 Jan said 70,000 people displaced since violence restarted in Sept. Govt and UN 13 Jan launched $399.5mn humanitarian response plan for 2017-2019. UNSC 27 Jan extended arms embargo until 31 Jan 2018 and renewed Panel of Experts’ mandate.
In Central African Republic, the conflict between armed groups is now compounded by a conflict between armed communities. The roadmap to end the crisis including elections late 2015 presents only a short-term answer and risks exacerbating existing tensions. The transitional authorities and their international partners must address crucial issues by implementing a comprehensive disarmament policy and reaffirming that Muslims belong within the nation.
Away from the international spotlight, the Central African Republic’s rural areas are turning into fields of violence as war over territory and livestock hits a highly vulnerable population, with effects increasingly felt in neighbouring Cameroon and Chad.
To stabilise the Central African Republic (CAR), the transitional government and its international partners need to prioritise, alongside security, action to fight corruption and trafficking of natural resources, as well as revive the economy.
Sensible, inclusive regulation of pastoralism that has mitigated tension in parts of the Sahel should be extended to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), where conflicts have worsened with the southward expansion of pastoralism.
As the Central African Republic (CAR) stares into an abyss of potentially appalling proportions, the international community must focus on the quickest, most decisive means of restoring security to its population.
The collapse of the state and the disappearance of security forces from a large part of the territory may turn the Central African Republic (CAR) into a source of instability in the heart of Africa.
Originally published in Jeune Afrique
As the crisis in the Central African Republic deepens, the country is experiencing increasing instrumentalisation of religion, societal divisions and collective fears. In this video, Crisis Group's Central Africa Project Director Thierry Vircoulon explains how the inter-communal tensions between armed groups in CAR, which straddles the mainly Muslim Sahel and the predominantly Christian central African savannah, is now compounded by an emerging conflict between armed communities.