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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 renewed international scrutiny over alleged abuses while tensions persisted between govt and opposition. UN report 4 Aug said country’s human rights situation “alarming”, listing 526 incidents from July 2020 to June 2021 including extrajudicial executions, torture and sexual violence; over half of recorded incidents blamed on rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), while armed forces and Russian security personnel responsible for 46% of recorded violations, including rising attacks on Muslim communities in Feb-June. Army, along with Russian security personnel, throughout month pursued military offensive against CPC, which continued to harass govt forces and civilians. Notably, in Ouham-Pendé prefecture, CPC combatants 5 Aug reportedly killed at least two Russian security personnel near Wouro Dolé village; army and Russian personnel 20 Aug attacked CPC positions in nearby Koui town, reportedly killing three civilians. In Ouaka prefecture, Russian personnel 12 Aug reportedly killed two combatants from Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) – which withdrew from CPC in April – in Bokolobo locality. Rwanda 3 Aug seconded 300 soldiers to UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) to help secure supply road between capital Bangui and Béloko town at border with Cameroon; additional 450 Rwandan soldiers expected by year’s end. Meanwhile, opposition 1 Aug criticised as biased President Touadéra’s late-July appointment of four govt ministers to committee tasked with setting up and running long-delayed political dialogue. Constitutional court 10 Aug stripped former National Assembly president, now opposition MP, Karim Meckassoua of his parliamentary seat for allegedly exhorting CPC to launch offensive against govt in Dec 2020; Meckassoua 15 Aug reportedly fled to DR Congo ahead of interrogation scheduled for next day; main opposition coalition COD-2020 24 Aug criticised court’s ruling, said Meckassoua should have been allowed to take part in national dialogue. Yearly World Bank report released 3 Aug warned CAR would enter economic recession in 2021 due to COVID-19 and post-electoral crises. Touadéra and Rwandan President Kagame 5 Aug signed four cooperation agreements, including in areas of defence and trade.
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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

Former 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