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

Transitional justice efforts faced challenges as court issued arrest warrant for former president but govt dissolved reconciliation commission; insecurity persisted. 

Authorities’ transitional justice record remained mixed. President Touadéra 8 May ordered dissolution of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission (CVJRR), created as part of 2019 peace agreement between govt and fourteen armed groups; presidential decree remained unpublished so uncertainty persisted over whether move only removes current office holders or dismantles institution entirely. Communication Minister 14 May attributed dissolution to governance, operational and financial issues within CVJRR. Earlier, UN-backed Special Criminal Court 30 April issued warrant for former President Bozizé’s arrest for allegedly ordering crimes against humanity committed Feb 2009-March 2013 by army and presidential guard; NGO Human Rights Watch 3 May said move provided chance for Bozizé to “face justice” but presidential adviser Fidèle Gouandjika same day suggested warrant aims to incite ethnic tensions. President Umaro Embaló Sissoco of Guinea-Bissau, where Bozizé is in exile, 1 May said he would not extradite former president, citing lack of legal framework.

Climate of insecurity persisted against backdrop of intercommunal tensions. Intercommunal and rebel violence continued in hinterland, notably in south west. Suspected armed herders 5 May destroyed two churches in Boganangone town, Lobaye prefecture, resulting in unconfirmed number of casualties. Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) fighters 12 May attacked mining site in Gaga town, Ombella-M’Poko prefecture, killing four Chinese miners and injuring seven. Meanwhile, 100 ethnic Azandé fighters officially integrated into army 1 May after intensive training by Russian paramilitary Africa Corps, formerly Wagner Group, in Obo town, Haut-Mbomou prefecture; despite govt portraying step as improving army integration, militants reaffirmed tribal allegiance by calling themselves “Azandé Wagner”, while fears grew over group’s escalating tensions with Fulani-led armed group Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) in south east. U.S. 30 May imposed sanctions on two companies based in country for supporting “malign activities” of Russian paramilitaries. Meanwhile, risk of unrest grew in capital Bangui as security forces continued search operations in Muslim neighbourhood, which have resulted in arbitrary arrests since April.

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