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.
Insecurity persisted in provinces as international actors increased pressure on govt to implement Feb peace agreement. In west, UN mission (MINUSCA) 5 April conducted operation in Zoukombo, Mambere Kadei prefecture against members of Abdoulaye Miskine’s rebel group Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC), who took control of town in early March; MINUSCA dislodged rebels, including from road leading to Cameroon. In south east, clashes between members of rebel group Union for Peace in Central African Republic (UPC) and self-defence groups at Zangba, Basse-Kotto prefecture left tens dead 17-23 April, some report over 100. Heads of regional bloc Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) 2-5 April visited capital Bangui to support Feb deal’s implementation. African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security Smaïl Chergui and UN Under-Sec-Gen for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix visited country 14-18 April; they and PM Ngrebada attended ceremony 15 April in Bambari in centre to present future members of special mixed security units to comprise soldiers and former rebels; Ali Darassa, leader of UPC rebel group and appointed military adviser late March, also attended. Joint AU-UN-EU mission visited Bangui 17 April for second meeting of International Support Group for CAR aimed at reinforcing international support for implementation of Feb agreement. UN Security Council 9 April fixed conditions for partial lifting of UN arms embargo, imposed in 2013: in July UN will assess authorities’ efforts to improve security sector, advance disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, and set up protocol for management of weapons and Security Council will re-examine arms embargo by 30 Sept.
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.
As the Central African Republic (CAR) stares into an abyss of potentially appalling proportions, the international community must focus on the quickest, most decisive means of restoring security to its population.
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.