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.
Security forces clashed with armed groups in provinces and capital Bangui, as disarmament and demobilisation efforts continued in west. In south east, after armed group Union for Peace in Central African Republic (UPC) mid-Oct invaded Bambouti, Haut-Mbomou prefecture on border with South Sudan, UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) 6 Nov called on UPC to withdraw and govt 13 Nov said it would deploy security forces to Bambouti. Security forces 21 and 27 Nov clashed with UPC combatants in Ouaka and Basse-Kotto prefectures leaving unknown number dead on both sides. In east, anti-balaka combatants and ex-Seleka combatants 26 Nov clashed near Bria, Haute-Kotto prefecture leaving three anti-balaka dead. In north, high-level delegation of govt officials and international partners in Ndélé, Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture 14 Nov sought to persuade Abdoulaye Hissene, leader of armed group Popular Front for the Central African Renaissance (FPRC), not to retaliate against rival armed group Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice (MLCJ) following clashes in recent months, but Hissene vowed to take revenge if justice was not done. Clashes between security forces and rebel group Patriotic Movement for the Central African Republic (MPC) in Kaga-Bandoro left five rebels dead. In west, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process continued: 160 combatants of armed group Return, Restitution and Rehabilitation (3R) 4-7 Nov disarmed and demobilised in Koui and Makoundji Wali, Ouham Pende prefecture. In Chad, authorities 19 Nov arrested four members of CAR armed group Democratic Front of the Central African People (FPDC) including leader Abdoulaye Miskine; govt requested his extradition. In capital Bangui, clashes between security forces and ex-Seleka combatants 19 Nov left around ten dead. Self-defence groups 29 Nov clashed in PK5 leaving two dead. UN Security Council 15 Nov renewed MINUSCA mandate for one year and expanded it to include support for presidential, legislative and local elections scheduled for 2020-2021. EU 5 Nov delivered 38 vehicles to CAR security forces; 21 Nov adopted concept for new mission to support security sector reform in CAR (EUAM RCA).
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.
In Central African Republic, the conflict between armed groups is now compounded by a conflict between armed communities. The roadmap to end the crisis including elections late 2015 presents only a short-term answer and risks exacerbating existing tensions. The transitional authorities and their international partners must address crucial issues by implementing a comprehensive disarmament policy and reaffirming that Muslims belong within the nation.
Away from the international spotlight, the Central African Republic’s rural areas are turning into fields of violence as war over territory and livestock hits a highly vulnerable population, with effects increasingly felt in neighbouring Cameroon and Chad.
To stabilise the Central African Republic (CAR), the transitional government and its international partners need to prioritise, alongside security, action to fight corruption and trafficking of natural resources, as well as revive the economy.
Sensible, inclusive regulation of pastoralism that has mitigated tension in parts of the Sahel should be extended to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), where conflicts have worsened with the southward expansion of pastoralism.
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.
International mobilization [in the Central African Republic] is much, much slower than the deterioration of the situation on the ground.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.