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Central African Republic

Central African Republic has been in turmoil since a violent takeover of power in 2013. The aftermath saw widespread violence as armed militia fought each other and took revenge on the population. The March 2016 election of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra brought an initial lull, but was followed by more fighting in late 2016 and early 2017 between armed groups including ex-Seleka factions and anti-balaka militias – both controlling vast areas of the country. Lasting peace is still some way off as neither the new government nor the large UN force have the means to force armed groups to negotiate and disarm. Crisis Group works to reduce the risk of large flare-ups and help defuse the country’s many conflicts, encouraging international actors to work to weaken armed groups and improve the chances of effective negotiation.

CrisisWatch Central African Republic

Unchanged Situation

Fighting continued in provinces, especially in north east between armed groups and ethnic communities, reportedly leaving dozens dead. In north east, ethnic Runga faction of Popular Front for the Central African Renaissance (FPRC) clashed with Gula armed group Patriotic Rally for the Renewal of Central Africa (RPRC) in Ndélé town, Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture 2-11 March, fighting reportedly left around 40 dead including at least twenty civilians. Unidentified armed group ambushed UN mission (MINUSCA) near Ndélé 15 March injuring peacekeeper; MINUSCA reportedly killed two assailants. Violence erupted again in area end month following RPRC attack on Runga-majority village near Ndélé 25 March. In Vakaga prefecture also in north east, ethnic Kara armed group Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice (MLCJ) 3 March clashed with ethnic Sara elements of FPRC, one MLCJ fighter killed. Leader of Fulani-dominated armed group Union for Peace in the Central African Republic 18-19 March convened representatives of ex-Seleka armed groups in Bria, Haute-Kotto prefecture in centre-east; participants 19 March signed agreement to prevent fighting in Vakaga prefecture spilling south into neighbouring Haute-Kotto. In north west, anti-balaka combatants 4 March killed three Fulani herders in clashes in Ngatoua village and another Fulani in Gbakaya village, both in Ouham prefecture. In south west, armed group Return, Restitution and Rehabilitation (3R) 4 March killed two civilians. In centre, suspected anti-balaka 15 March killed UN peacekeeper in Ouaka prefecture. In capital Bangui, authorities 28 March arrested twenty former anti-balaka who had been integrated into national armed forces over fears of potential coup.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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
30 Oct 2017
International mobilization [in the Central African Republic] is much, much slower than the deterioration of the situation on the ground. World Politics Review

Thibaud Lesueur

Consulting Senior Analyst, Central Africa
10 Oct 2017
The main risk [of the escalating violence in Central African Republic] is really to come back to a conflict like it was in 2013, very close to a kind of civil war. The Washington Post

Thibaud Lesueur

Consulting Senior Analyst, Central Africa
23 Mar 2017
There is a risk that the process of negotiation [in the Central African Republic] around disarmament becomes bogged down and justice, including through the Special Criminal Court, accelerates. IRIN

Richard Moncrieff

Project Director, Central Africa
24 Feb 2017
Against the supposed Christian versus Muslim logic of this conflict [in the Central African Republic], we now see Muslim groups fighting Muslim groups, divided on ethnic lines and fighting for territory. IRIN

Richard Moncrieff

Project Director, Central Africa

Latest Updates

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
Statement / Africa

Twelve Points for the New African Union Commission Chairperson

Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.

Also available in Français
Alert / Africa

Centrafrique : alerte de crise

En Centrafrique, le statu quo qui a suivi l'investiture du président Touadéra en mars 2016 est déjà remis en cause. Les tensions montent tandis que le blocage est total sur l’accord de désarmement, démobilisation et réinsertion, nœud gordien de la crise centrafricaine. Tout doit être mis en œuvre lors de la conférence des donateurs pour la Centrafrique, qui se déroule le 17 novembre à Bruxelles, pour éviter une nouvelle tentative de déstabilisation, voire un renversement du pouvoir.

Also available in English

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Thibaud Lesueur

Consulting Senior Analyst, Central Africa