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CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

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January 2023

Africa

Central African Republic

Several hundred Sudan-based rebels entered country; fighting between armed groups on one hand, and govt forces and allies on the other, could escalate in coming weeks.

CAR and Sudan shut shared border citing security challenges. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Zéphirin Mamadou and Vice-Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” 4-5 Jan announced closure of Central African Republic (CAR)-Sudan land border, with Hemedti warning Sudan-based rebels could seek to overthrow CAR President Touadéra (see Sudan). Sudanese troops in following days deployed to border areas, with some crossing into CAR and taking position near Birao town (Vakaga prefecture). Several hundred Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebels 24 Jan reportedly entered CAR from Sudan near Sam-Ouandja town (Haute-Kotto prefecture). CPC rebels around 25 Jan clashed with govt forces and allied Russian private military company Wagner Group near Gordil (Vakaga).

Rebel groups reinforced presence around main towns in west. In Nana-Mambéré prefecture, CPC 21 and 24 Jan launched major attacks on army positions in Béloko and Besson towns, with several dead; unidentified gunmen 7 Jan attacked security forces in Yenga village near Bouar town, leaving two soldiers dead and one missing. In Mambéré-Kadei prefecture, 3R rebel group (which is part of CPC) 2 Jan attacked mining site near Abba town, killing one miner; 12 Jan killed one soldier and wounded another in raid on army positions in same area.

Constitutional Court cleared way for constitutional referendum. Constitutional Court 3 Jan validated nomination of Jean-Pierre Waboé as new court president to replace Danièle Darlan, whom Touadéra dismissed in Oct, but said Darlan’s dismissal was unconstitutional. Court 20 Jan also confirmed constitutionality of 28 Dec law on referendum procedures, paving way for Touadéra to hold constitutional referendum and potentially run for third term.

Humanitarian needs soared as financial crisis loomed. After Legislative Assembly 27 Dec voted 2023 budget forecasting deficit of over $67mn, govt 3 Jan increased price of fuel by 50%; deterioration of financial situation unfolds as international donors maintain suspension of budgetary aid. UN humanitarian office 18 Jan warned humanitarian situation in CAR is degrading with 50% of population now critically food-insecure.

December 2022

Africa

Central African Republic

Authorities and Russian allies accused France of perpetrating “terrorist” acts, and armed groups continued to launch violent attacks across country.

Tensions with France boiled over following incident at border with Chad. After airstrike late Nov reportedly targeted military camp in Bossangoa town (Ouham prefecture near Chadian border), head of pro-govt organisation National Network for Safeguarding the Gains of Peace, Patrick Andjida, 2 Dec accused France and domestic opposition of manoeuvring to destabilise country; Russian military representative Alexander Ivanov 13 Dec said Central African Republic was under “threat … from the outside” and accused “international community” of supporting rebels. As explosive package 16 Dec injured Dimitri Sytyi, head of Russian cultural centre in capital Bangui, Russian private military company Wagner Group owner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, same day blamed attack on Paris, urged Moscow to declare France state sponsor of terrorism; France also 16 Dec denied allegation as “Russian propaganda”. Bangui 18 Dec denounced “terrorist attack” and launched investigation; 20 Dec claimed package was sent from Togo. Meanwhile, last contingent of French troops 15 Dec left country; Paris in June 2021 had suspended military cooperation with Bangui.

Security situation remained dire across country. Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebel groups continued to target civilians and military. Notably, Union for Peace in the Central African Republic 1 Dec launched attack on Bakouma town (Mbomou prefecture) which left seven civilians dead and six wounded. Unidentified CPC rebels 11-12 Dec targeted army positions in Lihoto and Bokolobo localities (Ouaka prefecture), with two civilians dead. Suspected 3R rebels overnight 23-24 Dec ambushed army patrol near Gallo locality (Nana-Mambéré prefecture), killing three soldiers. Armed forces 3-7 Dec reportedly arrested over 200 people, including many civilians, in search operations in towns of Paoua (Ouham-Pendé prefecture), Kaga Bandoro (Nana-Gribizi prefecture) and Bambari (Ouaka). In Haute-Kotto prefecture, govt forces and Wagner elements 12 Dec attacked CPC position at Kocho mine site, reportedly killing 36 rebels and capturing unknown number.

In other important developments. National Assembly 28 Dec adopted law regulating organisation of referendums in country. Opposition MP Joseph Bendounga same day said law would serve President Touadéra’s efforts to change constitution and run for third term.

November 2022

Africa

Central African Republic

Dispute persisted between pro-govt groups and opposition over constitutional referendum as authorities postponed local elections, and insecurity continued across country.

Constitutional revision process remained divisive. After ruling party late Oct called for constitutional referendum that would allow President Touadéra to run for third term, pro-govt movement Front Républicain 10 Nov addressed letter to Touadéra proposing 18 constitutional amendments. G-16 civil society coalition 1 Nov called for creation of “resistance council” against constitutional changes, while hundreds 5 Nov gathered in French capital Paris calling for Touadéra’s dismissal. Meanwhile, 16 opposition parties 18 Nov demanded guarantees that upcoming local and regional elections will not be combined with constitutional referendum, requested restructuring of National Electoral Authority (ANE), citing lack of neutrality. ANE 21 Nov postponed local and regional elections from 22 Jan to 16 July 2023 to allow for electoral roll’s revision.

MINUSCA’s mandate renewed amid tensions with France. Ahead of UN Security Council vote on renewal of UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA), FM Sylvie Baïpo-Temon 7 Nov declared draft resolution failed to reflect Central Africans’ “aspirations”, criticised France’s role as penholder; around same day withdrew symbolic title of dean of diplomatic corps traditionally given to French ambassador to Bangui, citing latter’s “discourtesy” toward Touadéra. Security Council 14 Nov renewed MINUSCA’s mandate for one year following tense debates, with Russia, China and Gabon abstaining.

Insecurity continued countrywide, notably at border with Chad. Russian paramilitaries 4 Nov raided Union of Patriots for Change rebel post in Blakadja village (Nana-Gribizi prefecture), leaving one rebel dead and four injured. Coalition of Patriots for Change rebels 19 Nov clashed with govt forces and allies in Kouango city (Ouaka prefecture), death toll unknown. Kidnapping for ransom reported throughout month. Notably, 3R rebels 8 Nov kidnapped three miners at Kombo-Nana site (Nana-Mambéré prefecture), freeing them after payment; unidentified armed elements 11 Nov abducted one civil servant and two UN personnel near Ndiffa locality (Vakaga prefecture). Unidentified assailants 24 Nov killed MINUSCA peacekeeper in Obo town (Haut-Mbomou prefecture). Govt said plane coming from border country overnight 27-28 Nov bombed base where govt forces and Russian allies were stationed in Bossangoa town (Ouham prefecture) near Chadian border, threatened retaliation.

October 2022

Africa

Central African Republic

Face-off persisted between govt and Constitutional Court over proposed constitutional reform that would allow President Touadéra to run for third term; rebel groups continued to pose security threat in several regions.

Touadéra sacked top judge amid dispute over new constitution. Following Constitutional Court’s 23 Sept invalidation of presidential decrees creating constitutional drafting committee, civil service ministry 10 Oct decreed retirement from teaching positions, effective 31 Dec, of 40 civil servants including Constitutional Court President Danièle Darlan, claiming this would entail her leaving court. Darlan 19 Oct refused retirement, said she cannot be removed before end of mandate in 2024. Touadéra 24 Oct dismissed Darlan by presidential decree; Darlan 28 Oct rejected dismissal, said decree had no legal value. Meanwhile, pro-Touadéra civil society movements renewed calls for constitutional referendum. Notably, Republican Front-led demonstration 22 Oct reportedly gathered thousands in capital Bangui to demand Touadéra organise referendum within 30 days to endorse constitutional reform.

Violence at hands of 3R rebels and anti-balaka militias persisted notably in west. In Ouham-Pendé prefecture, UN mission vehicle 3 Oct hit explosive device likely planted by 3R rebel group near Koui bridge, leaving three peacekeepers dead; 3R rebels 19 Oct killed one civilian and injured six people, including two soldiers, in attack on armed forces position in Mann village. In Nana-Mambéré prefecture, 3R elements 13 Oct attacked Chinese-operated mining site in Ndiba Molé village, killing four including one soldier. Meanwhile, in Basse-Kotto prefecture, two anti-balaka militia factions 4-11 Oct fought over control of Ndjoukou village; clashes left at least ten killed, including three civilians.

Misseriya Arab-Sara tensions flared in north near border with Chad and Sudan. In Vakaga prefecture, suspected Misseriya Arab tribe individuals 5 Oct held up traders and injured one on Sikidébé-Chad axis; amid inter-community tensions since 14 Oct, suspected Misseriya Arabs 20-21 Oct reportedly kidnapped 13 ethnic Sara individuals in Matala village, 18km from Vakaga’s capital Birao. In Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture, unidentified individuals 23 Oct killed three traders returning from Chad near Bangbali village, 6km from Bamingui-Bangoran’s capital Ndélé.

September 2022

Africa

Central African Republic

Violence continued in several regions, Constitutional Court blocked President Touadéra’s plans to amend constitution, and authorities sought to avert budgetary crisis.

Insecurity persisted in Ouaka and Haute-Kotto prefectures, worsened in neighbouring Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture. In Ouaka, Russian paramilitary forces 4 Sept allegedly killed eight miners near Ndassima gold mine amid ban on gold trade in area since Russians started industrial exploitation of Ndassima in May 2021. In Haute-Kotto, rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) early Sept started regrouping around mining sites, leading to string of attacks; notably, CPC attack on Kpassoro village 13 Sept caused 500 people to flee to prefecture’s capital Bria. Despite late-Aug deployment of over 300 govt soldiers to deter rebel offensive in Bamingui-Bangoran, CPC 2 Sept attacked armed forces in Akroussoulback village, death toll unknown. Meanwhile, security forces continued arbitrary arrests, including of 40 people 12 Sept and of 90 others 22 Sept during search operations in capital Bangui’s third district.

Touadéra’s constitutional change bid suffered setback. Presidential decree 12 Sept appointed members of committee responsible for drafting new constitution, which could allow Touadéra to run for third term. Constitutional Court 23 Sept blocked process following appeal by civil society G-16 coalition, ruling 12 Sept decree as well as 26 Aug decree establishing constitutional drafting committee “unconstitutional”. Pressure on court mounted in lead-up to decision, with hundreds of govt supporters 8-9 Sept demonstrating in front of courthouse, calling for court members’ resignation and issuing death threats against its president, Daniele Darlan.

Govt took steps to address budgetary crisis. After late Aug voting to reduce state budget by 14%, National Assembly 1 Sept further compressed budget to compensate for suspension of international aid (to prevent it feeding Russian operations in country) and global economic downturn. Meanwhile, PM Félix Moloua 6 Sept created inter-ministerial committee to investigate irregularities in salary payments to state personnel, which were uncovered in Aug by audit of state personnel register.

August 2022

Africa

Central African Republic

Rebels kept up operations in rural areas and President Touadéra continued to move toward constitutional revision despite opposition. Rebels maintained attacks in hinterland despite govt forces and allies’ operations. In Ouham prefecture, presumed Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) elements 1 Aug killed three civilians and one gendarme travelling between Kabo and Moyenne-Sido localities; 6 Aug killed one soldier and injured another in Lady village. CPC-affiliated rebel group 3R 2-3 Aug launched attacks in Nana-Mambéré prefecture, killing six villagers near Baboua town. In Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture, govt 8 Aug imposed night curfew in Ndélé town, fearing attack by CPC rebels coming from Nda town, 300km away in Vakaga prefecture; govt and Russian forces 15 Aug carried out joint operation in Nda after CPC elements were reported heading toward Ndélé. In Haute-Kotto prefecture, Rwandan peacekeepers 14 Aug arrived in Sam-Ouandja town, demanded CPC elements leave within 48 hours; rebels did not comply but no incidents reported. Govt troops 11 and 15 Aug arrested 30 people suspected of cooperating with rebels in Haute-Kotto’s capital Bria. Meanwhile, tensions persisted over Touadéra’s proposed constitutional revision, which could allow him to run for third term in next presidential election. Over 1,000 govt supporters 6 Aug demonstrated in capital Bangui in favour of constitutional referendum; pro-govt gatherings also reported in other cities. Constitutional Court 8 Aug rejected opposition’s petition against draft law on constitutional change, which govt adopted in July. In address to nation, Touadéra 12 Aug announced constitutional referendum, invoking “people’s aspirations”; 26 Aug signed decree setting up committee to draft new constitution, made up of 53 members mostly from ruling party. In response, Republican Bloc coalition of opposition parties and civil society organisations next day gathered hundreds in capital Bangui to denounce Touadéra’s “manipulation” and slide toward “dictatorship”; 31 Aug lodged petition with Constitutional Court against decree.

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