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CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.

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Africa

Central African Republic

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(CVJRR), created as part of 2019 peace agreement between govt and fourteen armed groups; presidential decree remained unpublished so uncertainty persisted over whether move only removes current office holders or dismantles institution entirely.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.

Africa

Central African Republic

Intercommunal violence escalated as govt allies responded firmly to cost-of-living protests.

Sectarian tensions rose in several regions. Series of incidents highlighted rising intercommunal tensions; rebels from Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) group 2 April killed over twenty civilians 40km from Bohong town in Ouham-Pendé prefecture (north west). In Ouham prefecture (north), clashes erupted between Christian and Muslim communities in Bossangoa town 5 April following private dispute, highlighting ongoing divisions; in nearby Benzambé village, transhumant herders from West Africa same day killed child, leading villagers to lynch three residents they accused of witchcraft, while relatives of victim attacked and killed Fulani girl with machetes, as tensions remained high throughout month. Meanwhile, in Obo town, Haut-Mbomou prefecture (east) Russian paramilitary Africa Corps, formerly Wagner Group, initiated enlistment and training of fighters from Azandé Ani Kpi Gbé (AAKG) ethnic self-defence militia to confront Fulani-led armed group Unity for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) rebels; moves heightened risk of further sectarian tensions in region should Azandé fighters target Fulani, and by association Muslim, civilians accused of backing rebels.

Govt supporters responded firmly to protests over cost of living. Crescent Beninga, spokesperson of Civil Society Working Group, 7 April called for peaceful protest against water and electricity shortages, but faced opposition from pro-govt factions; notably, Central African Youth Advisory Council 9 April denounced protest as political manipulation while National Coordination of Central African Students 11 April urged students to boycott march, branding it uncivil and unpatriotic. Around 100 demonstrators 12 April attempted to march in capital Bangui but security forces blocked them; activist Blaise Didatien Kossimatchi same day organised pro-govt counter-demonstration.

In another important international development. President Touadéra met with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron 17 April in France’s capital Paris in bid to ease tensions over govt’s growing ties with Russia; presidents agreed upon “roadmap” for “constructive partnership”.

Africa

Central African Republic

Political tensions rose over arrest of opposition leader; army clashed with rebels in north east while self-defence group resisted disarmament.   

Opposition faced further govt crackdown ahead of 2025 elections. Police 3 March arrested Crépin Mboli-Goumba – lawyer and key figure in opposition coalition Republican Bloc for the Defence of the Constitution (BRDC) – at airport of capital Bangui and detained him for 72 hours on charges of contempt of court over his Feb accusations of judiciary corruption. After BRDC condemned arrest and lawyers called for court boycott, security forces 6 March released Mboli-Goumba pending trial; court 27 March sentenced him to one-year suspended prison sentence and fine; arrest raised further concerns over govt’s attempts to limit opposition in lead-up to 2025 presidential elections.

Army clashes with rebels continued in north east. Clash between military and 3R fighters near Yaloké town 4 March killed soldier and civilian, leading to intercommunal unrest in local community with two mosques attacked. Coalition of Patriots for Change rebels 7 March attacked Ndah town, forcing army withdrawal until Russian paramilitary Wagner group intervened with airstrikes. Wagner supported military through increased deployment in north east amid speculation that U.S. private security company Bancroft has presence in region’s rural areas.

Tensions persisted in south east as self-defence militia refused to disarm. After late Feb violent clashes between Unity for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) rebels and Azandé Ani Kpi Gbé (AAKG) ethnic self-defence militia in several villages in Haut-Mbomou prefecture that caused at least ten casualties, Defence Minister Rameaux Claude Bireaux 5 March visited regional capital Obo to persuade AAKG to disarm; group, however, demanded UPC lay down weapons first. Next day, Wagner mercenaries arrived in Obo and exchange of fire 14 March between AAKG and govt soldiers in city raised concerns over potential escalation of clashes.

In other important developments. Amid deepening of Russian influence, President Touadéra 1 March finished three-day visit to Serbian capital Belgrade, an ally of Moscow, culminating in three cooperation agreements covering diplomacy, defence, and mining. Wagner mercenaries 27 March conducted police checkpoints in Bangui.

Africa

Central African Republic

Russia doubled down on military support to Bangui amid struggle for influence with U.S.; rebel groups continued to stage attacks in hinterland.

Struggle for influence between U.S. and Russia continued. Recent announcement of U.S. private security company Bancroft’s operations in CAR gave new impetus to Russia’s military support to President Touadéra amid struggle for influence. Notably, Russian govt late Jan delivered seven fighter jets to CAR’s national security forces, and presidential adviser Pascal Bida Koyagbélé around 1 Feb confirmed opening of Russian military base in Berengo (Lobaye prefecture), where Russian paramilitary Wagner Group already operates training camp for CAR army; base could host up to 10,000 troops, increasing Russia’s capacity for sub-regional projection. Meanwhile, Russian propaganda campaign against U.S. intensified, supported by pro-Wagner Committee for Initiative, Control and Investigation of U.S.’s Actions in CAR. Notably, anti-U.S. caravan 26 Feb circulated in capital Bangui on tour that appears to have received significant financial support.

Despite army’s efforts to control hinterland, security situation remained precarious. In Ouham-Pendé prefecture (north west), govt forces 8 Feb attacked 3R fighters who were reportedly mediating in dispute between farmer and herder north west of Bocaranga city, killing two rebels and seizing vehicles and weapons. In retaliation, 3R fighters next day burnt dozen houses in same area and forced residents to flee, with no reported casualties. In Nana-Mambéré prefecture (also north west), 3R fighters 11 Feb kidnapped three miners and seized gold during raid on mining site near Baboua town. Fighters from Unity for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) and Azandé Ani Kpi Gbé militia around 22 Feb engaged in several days of fighting near Zémio town, Haut-Mbomou prefecture (east), leading to several deaths and population displacement whose extent is not yet assessed. Meanwhile, President Touadéra 7 Feb inaugurated new Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) of national army, which was trained in Bangui by Rwandan bilateral troops; BIR’s commander, Captain Listher Lazaret, like majority of battalion’s soldiers, belongs to Touadéra’s Mbaka-Mandja ethnic group. BIR is reminiscent of notorious Escadron blindé autonome created by President André Kolingba in 1980s, which later became brigade of ethnic repression.

Africa

Central African Republic

Authorities appeared set to eliminate potential rivals before 2025 elections, while incidents involving explosive device attacks compounded already dire security situation. 

Authorities settled scores with potential dissidents and election rivals. Joint patrol of govt forces and Russian paramilitary Wagner Group 3 Jan arrested mayor of Baboua, Caprang Ephraim, and commander of north west defence zone, Col Modoua, in Nana-Mambéré prefecture; detentions may be related to inter-ethnic disputes within military, particularly over control of mineral resources. Court in capital Bangui 17 Jan sentenced in absentia former National Assembly speaker, Karim Meckassoua, to life imprisonment on charges of endangering state security and colluding with Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebels. 

President Touadéra continued hazardous push to diversify security partners. Around 150 people from pro-Russian civil society platform Initiative Committee for the Control and Investigation of the U.S. Actions 25 Jan demonstrated in front of U.S. Embassy in Bangui to demand withdrawal of U.S.-based private security company Bancroft Global Development; protest came after presidency in Dec confirmed military cooperation agreement between govt and Bancroft. Wagner’s reaction could turn into something more worrisome if Touadéra is not able to share duties and benefits among security partners. 

Security situation marked by resurgence of explosive device attacks. Improvised explosive device (IED), possibly linked to armed group Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R), 11 Jan killed three civilians and injured another in Bouar town (Nana-Mambéré prefecture). Another IED 15 Jan killed one UN peacekeeper and wounded another five in Mbindale village (Lim-Pendé prefecture). Meanwhile, Wagner elements 9 Jan attempted to shoot down unidentified object flying over their base in Ndélé town (Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture); local authorities next day imposed curfew and arrested ten civilians. Violent clashes between armed actors took place in various regions. Unity for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) combatants 7 Jan attacked Azandé Ani Kpi Gbé (AAKG) ethnic militia in Obo town (Haut-Mbomou prefecture), resulting in at least three deaths. CPC elements 8 Jan attacked base hosting army and Wagner elements in Kabo town (Ouham-Fafa prefecture); fifteen rebels and four govt soldiers killed, and at least ten civilians wounded.

Africa

Central African Republic

Rebel groups remained active in northern regions, exposing limits of govt’s strategy of weakening them from top down; battle for influence raged between Russia and U.S.

Northern regions remained subject to armed violence, mainly along Chadian border. Clashes between Russian paramilitary Wagner Group and rebels of Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC) 9 Dec left 30 fighters and one Wagner officer dead in Markounda town (Ouham prefecture); violence, which took place after MPC leader Mahamat Al-Khatim in Nov signed agreement with govt allowing MPC’s return to 2019 Khartoum peace deal, illustrated limits of govt’s strategy of pushing warlords to announce dissolution of their groups in absence of credible way out for militiamen under their command. Drones 10 Dec dropped explosive charges on Wagner’s Kaga-Bandoro base (Nana-Gribizi prefecture), killing four Wagner elements and wounding another 13; alliance of major rebel groups Coalition of Patriots for Change denied responsibility. 3R armed group 21 Dec killed 23 civilians in Nzakoundou village, Lim-Pendé prefecture; UN force 27 Dec announced deployment of peacekeepers to reinforce security in area and facilitate humanitarian access.

Russian govt tightened grip on paramilitary Wagner Group empire in CAR. Unconfirmed rumours circulated in capital Bangui of upcoming departure of Vitali Perfilev, once in charge of Wagner Group military operations in Central African Republic, and his replacement by secret intelligence agent Vladimirovich Denis Pavlov, who arrived in Bangui in Sept. Move would suggest that Russian defence ministry is taking control of paramilitary organisation’s activities in country.

U.S. activism against Wagner sparked tensions. As part of its strategy to reduce Wagner influence in Bangui, Washington continued to negotiate security alternatives. U.S.-based private military company Bancroft Global Development late Dec denied having deployed to Bangui but admitted contacts with President Touadéra’s govt to discuss potential cooperation. Presidency late Dec confirmed govt is working to diversify security partnerships, said U.S. is offering to train soldiers. Recent cases of harassment against U.S. nationals suggest reaction to U.S. activism from pro-Wagner factions in govt. Notably, authorities have arrested at least ten international and private sector American workers in Bangui since Oct.

Africa

Central African Republic

Govt forces and allies continued to hunt down rebels in several regions, and authorities dismissed UN mission’s call for national dialogue.

Increased rebel activity prompted military to step up presence in hinterland. Between 100 and 150 govt troops 1 Nov deployed to Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture’s capital Ndélé, after around 120 unidentified armed men late Oct took control of nearby Miamani village, killing one soldier and forcing other soldiers and civilians to flee. In Ouham-Fafa prefecture, Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebels 2 Nov claimed control of Sido town near Chadian border, with two soldiers and several civilians reportedly killed; military and Russian paramilitary Wagner Group 5 Nov recaptured town, and Wagner plane on search mission in Ouham-Fafa 11 Nov briefly crossed into Chad, prompting N’Djamena to threaten defensive action; CPC 24 Nov once again attacked Sido before leaving next day. After govt and Wagner forces late Oct attacked Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC) armed group and killed about 20 fighters, MPC leader Mahamat Al-Khatim 3 Nov announced leaving CPC and reintegrating 2019 peace agreement with govt.

UN renewed mission’s mandate amid tensions over national dialogue proposal. After UN mission (MINUSCA) late Oct called for new dialogue between govt and both civilian and armed opposition, President Touadéra’s special adviser Fidèle Gouandjika 2 Nov dismissed proposal, claimed it was part of “genocidal plot” hatched by MINUSCA and France to destabilise country. Opposition and armed groups reacted cautiously to MINUSCA’s proposal, with some voicing concern that any such dialogue would legitimise Touadéra-sponsored constitutional referendum held in July. UN Security Council 15 Nov renewed MINUSCA’s mandate for one year until Nov 2024, demonstrating international community’s almost unanimous support for Touadéra despite authoritarian drift.

Intercommunal tensions flared in north west. Muslim trader 8 Nov attacked and killed non-Muslim man following land dispute in Paoua town, Lim-Pendé prefecture; in response, crowd next day set fire to over 20 Muslim houses.

Africa

Central African Republic

Rebel groups continued low-intensity attacks in hinterland amid military operations by govt forces and allies.

Rebel activity persisted across country despite operations by govt forces and allies. In Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture, alliance of major rebel groups Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) 2 Oct attacked gold mine near Birbatouma village, prompting riposte from military, with fighting reported next day near Ndélé town; govt forces and Russian paramilitary Wagner Group 30 Oct launched search operation in same area. In Haute-Kotto prefecture, reinforced presence of UN mission (MINUSCA) peacekeepers around Ouadda town in Oct led elements of Gen Mohamed Moussa’s Party of the Rally of the Central African Nation and other CPC-affiliated groups to leave Ouadda and relocate further north to Sam-Ouandja area in Vakaga prefecture, while other fighters returned to Bria-Yalinga-Nzacko triangle in southern Haute-Kotto. Meanwhile, as influx of Sudanese refugees toward Am Dafok and Birao towns in Vakaga prefecture continued, armed elements allegedly belonging to paramilitary Rapid Support Forces of Gen Mohamed “Hemedti” Hamdan Dagalo reportedly engaged in opportunistic crimes around Birao.

Agropastoral conflicts continued to claim lives. After herder-farmer violence in Sept affected Miamani area in Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture, several similar incidents reported in Oct in Ouham-Pendé prefecture. Notably, armed Fulani herders 10 Oct clashed with group of armed individuals in Bossemptélé sub-prefecture, and violence 12 Oct broke out between armed herders and residents in Bézéré village, leading to deaths of three soldiers who had been deployed to area; armed elements of CPC-affiliated 3R rebel group late Oct abducted a dozen individuals near Bohong village over accusations of cattle theft. In Lobaye prefecture, transhumant herders armed with assault rifles 22 Oct shot one farmer dead and wounded another.

UN urged Bangui to launch inclusive dialogue ahead of 2024 local elections. Valentine Rugwabiza, UN Special Representative and head of MINUSCA, 26 Oct presented Sec Gen’s report on Central African Republic to UN Security Council ahead of vote on mandate renewal expected in Nov. Rugwabiza highlighted govt’s progress in advancing peace process, and urged Bangui to engage in inclusive dialogue with political opposition and armed groups ahead of local elections scheduled for Oct 2024.

Africa

Central African Republic

Presidential Guard detained army officers, reflecting widening rifts within army amid series of coups in West and Central Africa; armed group violence continued unabated in hinterland.

Coup in Gabon sparked tensions in Bangui. Amid rumours of imminent coup in Bangui in wake of military overthrow of President Bongo in Gabon, Presidential Guard 10 Sept arrested unknown number of army officers, including Capt. Kamezo-Laï Gilbert and Chief Warrant Officer Kohoté Fabia, both close relatives of diaspora opposition activist Regis Sikangba. Armed forces in following days started identity checks by night on roads of capital Bangui.

President Touadéra proceeded to arrest former rebel leader turned ally. Authorities 4 Sept detained former rebel leader Abdoulaye Hissène, and UN-backed Special Criminal Court 7 Sept charged him with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in 2017 as one of main leaders of Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic. NGO Human Rights Watch next day welcomed move as step toward ending impunity. Many in govt circles however perceived Hissène’s arrest as disloyal move from Touadéra, as Hissène had become govt’s ally since 2019 peace agreement.

Armed groups continued to increase presence in hinterland following referendum. In Nana-Mambéré prefecture (west), govt forces and Russian Wagner Group paramilitaries 2 Sept killed eight 3R rebels in operation 70km from Baoro town; Wagner and 3R elements 10 Sept clashed in Baboua sub-prefecture, leaving one Wagner dead. Attacks by unidentified armed men continued in Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture (north), including ambushes on army checkpoints in Djamassinda and Miaméré villages on 7 and 11 Sept. Rwandan peacekeepers from 26 Aug onward intensified patrols in villages between Mbrès and Koukourou, Nana-Gribizi prefecture (centre), after locals reported increased armed group presence. Meanwhile, UN mission (MINUSCA) 27 Sept announced deployment of peacekeepers in Mboki city, Haut-Mbomou prefecture (east), after Azande Ani Kpi Gbe militia 31 Aug attacked regional peace committee delegation.

In other important developments. As part of unprecedented tour of African countries collaborating with Wagner, Russian Deputy Defence Minister, Col-Gen Yanous Bek Evrourov, 2 Sept met with Touadéra in Bangui. Pursuing diplomatic appeasement initiated since early 2023, French President Macron and Touadéra 13 Sept met in France’s capital Paris.

Africa

Central African Republic

Referendum win opened the way for President Touadéra to extend his rule indefinitely, institutionalising authoritarian drift.

Touadéra secured controversial referendum victory. Electoral body 7 Aug announced resounding 95% yes vote for new constitution in referendum held 30 July, and Constitutional Court 20 Aug validated results, saying turnout reached 57%. New constitution, which scraps presidential term limits and bars Central Africans of foreign origin or holding another citizenship from running for president, paves the way for Touadéra to seek third term in 2025. Opposition coalition Republican Bloc for the Defence of the Constitution, which boycotted referendum, claimed results were “fraudulent” and turnout as low as 10%; bloc’s coordinator Crépin Mboli-Goumba 22 Aug vowed to “oppose this desire to liquidate democracy in our country”. Internationally, U.S. 22 Aug expressed “deep reservations” over referendum vote in absence of independent electoral observers and called on CAR authorities to set date for long-overdue local elections.

Violence continued amid growing divisions within rebel coalition. Armed forces 1 Aug killed seven presumed Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebels during operation in gold mine in Abba area of Nana-Mambéré prefecture. Amid growing divisions within CPC, locals in Nana-Gribizi prefecture from 19 Aug onward reported presence of unidentified armed group equipped with robust armaments in several villages including Mbrès, Azène, Linguiri, and Koukourou; armed men in Azène allegedly claimed being part of new rebel movement, portrayed it as last chance for rebellion in CAR. In response, UN mission MINUSCA 22 Aug sent blue helmets to patrol area between Mbrès and Koukourou. Unidentified armed group presence also reported late-Aug in Chari village, Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture, while unidentified armed men 25 Aug attacked army position in Yawa village, Lobaye prefecture, forcing over 2,000 people to flee.

In other important developments. In apparent revenge attack, suspected Fulani herders Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) militiamen 1 Aug killed 13 civilians in Diki village, Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture.

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