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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

Armed group attacks hindered electoral preparations in north west, and persisted in centre and south east. Armed group Restitution, Reclamation and Rehabilitation (3R) maintained attacks in Ouham-Pendé prefecture in north west as it continued to disperse across region under pressure from UN mission (MINUSCA) operation launched in June. 3R elements 7 Sept kidnapped two policemen near Bang town after locals 5 Sept arrested two 3R combatants and delivered them to security forces; 8 Sept attacked army convoy on Mokondi-Ouali axis, ensuing clashes left 12 combatants dead and five soldiers injured; next day shot at ambulance on Bocaranga-Bouar axis, causing temporary suspension of humanitarian activities in area; sporadic attacks continued until late Sept. Ahead of 27 Dec general elections, electoral authority 16 Sept said voter registration could not be completed on time in three prefectures, including north-western Ouham-Pendé and Nana-Mambéré, due to ongoing violence. Meanwhile, several armed groups remained active in south east and centre. Armed group Unity for Peace in Central Africa 3 Sept intercepted two NGO trucks and tried to extort passengers in Kemba village, Basse-Kotto prefecture in south east. Anti-balaka and ex-Seleka armed groups 6 Sept clashed in Kouki village, Ouham prefecture in centre, leaving one anti-balaka dead; unidentified individuals next day attacked UN convoy transferring suspect, no casualties reported. Suspected armed group Lord’s Resistance Army 28 Sept reportedly kidnapped around ten civilians in Likhoua village, Haut-Mbomou prefecture in south east. Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration program made slow progress in centre and centre-east. President Touadéra’s national security adviser 13 Sept announced demobilisation of 60 combatants in Nana-Gribizi prefecture, including 53 from armed group Patriotic Movement for Central Africa. Demobilisation of several armed group combatants started in Bria, Haute-Kotto prefecture, with 30 combatants from Popular Front for Central African Renaissance demobilised 16 Sept.

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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