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CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

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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September 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Govt forces and Russian allies pursued counter-insurgency operations, leaving high civilian toll, and President Touadéra again refused rebels’ participation in national dialogue. Amid ongoing offensive against rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), Russian security personnel and govt forces reportedly killed 15 ethnic Fulani civilians in Ouaka prefecture 4-8 Sept and another 19 in Ouham-Pendé prefecture 11 and 28 Sept. 3R rebel group (a CPC member) 11 Sept accused govt forces and Russian personnel of carrying out “genocide” against Fulanis in west. Opposition party Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People 18 Sept said civilians in north west are caught between Russian mercenaries and CPC in “open-air prison”, accused UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) of inaction. Meanwhile, armed encounters between rebels and security forces persisted. In Nana-Mambéré prefecture, CPC 3 Sept ambushed Russian personnel escorting commercial trucks in Beloko town, killing one. In Mambéré-Kadeï prefecture, CPC 20 Sept reportedly retook control of Banga town after army and Russian personnel had seized it mid-Sept. In Ouaka prefecture, CPC 28 Sept reportedly killed two soldiers near Bambari town. CPC also continued to target civilians and NGO staff; notably, suspected CPC explosive devices 9-10 Sept killed one NGO personnel and one civilian in Ouham-Pendé prefecture. Touadéra early Sept installed Republican Dialogue Organizing Committee – tasked with setting up and running long-delayed political dialogue; govt 28-29 Sept reaffirmed refusal to include CPC rebels in dialogue during consultations with political parties, civil society and religious representatives in Italy’s capital Rome. International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) 16 Sept adopted roadmap for peace in Central African Republic; called on govt to accept ceasefire with CPC and revitalise Feb 2019 peace agreement. Authorities 4 Sept arrested former anti-balaka commander and senior figure of former President Bozizé’s presidential guard Eugène Ngaïkosset; Special Criminal Court in capital Bangui, made up of national and international magistrates, 10 Sept charged Ngaïkosset with crimes against humanity. UN 15 Sept ordered immediate withdrawal of Gabonese contingent part of MINUSCA over Gabon’s failure to “conduct timely and effective investigations” into allegations of sexual abuse by contingent members in CAR dating back to 2015.

August 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Govt forces and foreign allies faced renewed international scrutiny over alleged abuses while tensions persisted between govt and opposition. UN report 4 Aug said country’s human rights situation “alarming”, listing 526 incidents from July 2020 to June 2021 including extrajudicial executions, torture and sexual violence; over half of recorded incidents blamed on rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), while armed forces and Russian security personnel responsible for 46% of recorded violations, including rising attacks on Muslim communities in Feb-June. Army, along with Russian security personnel, throughout month pursued military offensive against CPC, which continued to harass govt forces and civilians. Notably, in Ouham-Pendé prefecture, CPC combatants 5 Aug reportedly killed at least two Russian security personnel near Wouro Dolé village; army and Russian personnel 20 Aug attacked CPC positions in nearby Koui town, reportedly killing three civilians. In Ouaka prefecture, Russian personnel 12 Aug reportedly killed two combatants from Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) – which withdrew from CPC in April – in Bokolobo locality. Rwanda 3 Aug seconded 300 soldiers to UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) to help secure supply road between capital Bangui and Béloko town at border with Cameroon; additional 450 Rwandan soldiers expected by year’s end. Meanwhile, opposition 1 Aug criticised as biased President Touadéra’s late-July appointment of four govt ministers to committee tasked with setting up and running long-delayed political dialogue. Constitutional court 10 Aug stripped former National Assembly president, now opposition MP, Karim Meckassoua of his parliamentary seat for allegedly exhorting CPC to launch offensive against govt in Dec 2020; Meckassoua 15 Aug reportedly fled to DR Congo ahead of interrogation scheduled for next day; main opposition coalition COD-2020 24 Aug criticised court’s ruling, said Meckassoua should have been allowed to take part in national dialogue. Yearly World Bank report released 3 Aug warned CAR would enter economic recession in 2021 due to COVID-19 and post-electoral crises. Touadéra and Rwandan President Kagame 5 Aug signed four cooperation agreements, including in areas of defence and trade.

July 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Govt took steps to organise long-delayed political dialogue with opposition and civil society; govt forces along with foreign allies continued to clash with rebels. After opposition 5 July criticised as biased committee which President Touadéra appointed late June to set up and run political dialogue, govt 9 July held talks with opposition and civil society representatives to reach compromise; main opposition coalition COD-2020 24 July said it would take part in dialogue, after govt agreed committee would no longer be placed under Touadéra’s direct authority, raised number of political parties’ representatives from one to four, and broadened choice of experts who can provide support. Long-delayed Truth, Justice, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission, recommended in 2015 Bangui Forum and 2019 Khartoum peace deal, set up 2 July with swearing-in of all 11 commissioners. Meanwhile, army along with Russian security personnel pursued military offensive against rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), who continued to harass govt forces and civilians mainly in areas left by Russian security personnel in recent months. Notably, CPC rebel groups reportedly killed three soldiers in Besson town, Nana-Mambéré prefecture 9 July, one civilian in Bédamara village, Ouham-Pendé prefecture 18 July, and another two in Naziboro village, Nana-Mambéré prefecture 20 July; CPC member 3R 26 July killed at least four Russian security personnel and two govt troops in Ndongué Douane village, Nana-Mambéré prefecture, and 31 July killed at least six civilians in Mann village, Ouham-Pendé prefecture. CPC also staged further ambushes along main roads, mainly in Ouham-Pendé and Lim-Pendé prefectures, notably killing three civilians in Ouham-Pendé prefecture first week of July. Unidentified assailants 21 July killed 13 civilians in Bongboto area, Ouham prefecture; govt immediately blamed CPC, which denied responsibility; UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) next day called for investigation amid persistent reports of abuses against civilians by all sides in conflict. Rebel group Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC), which withdrew from CPC in April, 17 July offered to “definitively lay down arms” in exchange for concessions from govt, including two ministerial portfolios. UN Security Council 29 July renewed sanctions regime until 31 July 2022.

June 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Govt forces and foreign allies faced mounting international scrutiny over alleged abuses, relations with France soured and deadly farmer-herder violence flared at border with Chad. Army, with Russian ally, pursued military offensive against rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), who continued to harass govt and allied forces through indirect confrontation, including targeting supply trucks and using IEDs along roadsides. Army 28 June reportedly repelled attack by rebel group Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC), which withdrew from CPC in April, on its positions in Alindao town, Basse-Kotto prefecture; seven killed. Meanwhile, govt troops and Russian paramilitaries faced international criticism for their conduct. Notably, report of UN Sec-Gen Guterres covering Feb-June developments 16 June decried abuses committed by armed groups, national army and “bilaterally deployed and other security personnel”; head of UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) Mankeur Ndiaye 23 June accused state forces of “recent widespread rights abuses” which “compromise any chance of establishing trust between citizens and their leaders”. Following legislative elections, President Touadéra 11 June appointed Finance Minister Henri-Marie Dondra as new PM; Dondra to replace Firmin Ngrébada, seen as key architect of country’s alliance with Moscow; Dondra 23 June formed new govt. France 8 June suspended military cooperation with govt and some €10mn in budgetary support over Bangui’s failure to set up political dialogue with opposition and “massive disinformation campaigns” against Paris. Attorney general next day confirmed he would prosecute French national arrested in May in capital Bangui on five counts including espionage, endangering state security and illegal possession of weapons. Following border clashes with Chad in May and N’Djamena’s announcement that it started to deploy reinforcements to areas bordering CAR on 31 May, both countries 1 June said they would set up “independent and impartial international commission of inquiry” to ascertain responsibilities. In deadliest farmer-herder violence in years, Chadian herders 10 June killed at least 15 civilians in Tiri village, Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture near border with Chad, prompting some 3,000 to flee; incident followed dispute same day between local farmer and Chadian herder, which left latter dead.

May 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Govt forces along with foreign allies continued to gain ground against rebels, remaining rounds of legislative polls held without major incidents, and border tensions with N’djamena flared. Army, with Rwandan and Russian support, pursued military offensive against rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), taking back at least 25 towns and villages previously under rebel control for several years; notably, armed forces 9 May regained control of Bakouma town in Mbomou prefecture, under rebel control since 2013. CPC rebels 17 May reportedly killed at least 17 civilians in Grevaï village, Nana-Gribizi prefecture; also, CPC continued to harass govt and allied forces through indirect confrontation, including using IEDs along roadsides, with at least seven incidents reported by month’s end. Clashes between rebels from Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC), which withdrew from CPC in April, and suspected Russian paramilitaries 15-16 May reportedly killed at least 20 civilians in Boyo village, Ouaka prefecture. French media Radio France Internationale 3 May reported it had seen confidential UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) reports documenting abuses by Russian combatants against civilians, including 26 extrajudicial executions between Jan and April 2021. Govt same day cast doubt on accuracy of report but said it would establish commission of inquiry to investigate alleged abuses while Russia immediately denounced “fake news”. Tensions with Chad rose as N’Djamena 30 May said CAR soldiers attacked Chadian military post at border, leaving six soldiers dead, and accused Bangui of “war crime” that would “not go unpunished”; CAR next day said “exchanges of fire” at border had left casualties on both sides, suggested joint investigation. Meanwhile, 90 of 140 total MPs, most affiliated with ruling party United Hearts Movement (MCU), 3 May took up their seats in National Assembly, and 5 May elected MCU Secretary General Simplice Mathieu Sarandji as National Assembly president. Authorities 23 May held parliamentary elections in about 50 remaining constituencies where elections had been postponed due to insecurity; electoral commission 30 May announced MCU had won 11 new seats, bringing total to 36, far from absolute majority in National Assembly.

April 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Govt forces continued to gain ground against rebels, prompting major armed group to announce withdrawal from coalition. Army, with support from Rwanda and Russia, continued military operation against rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), notably regaining control of Niem town in Nana-Mambéré prefecture 7 April, strategic commercial hub Kaga-Bandoro in Nana-Gribizi prefecture 10 April, and Kabo town in Ouham prefecture 15 April; some towns had been under rebel control for several years. CPC rebels throughout month continued to ambush security forces, notably killing three soldiers near Birao town, Vakaga prefecture, 16 April; Arab Missiria militia reportedly involved in ambush. In ongoing violence against humanitarian workers, CPC 7 April briefly detained NGO World Vision staff in Bocaranga area, Ouham-Pendé prefecture. UN refugee agency 20 April said violence had displaced over 2,000 people into neighbouring Chad over previous week. CPC member Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation 2 April said its leader Sidiki Abbas had died 25 March from injuries sustained in Nov 2020; govt had previously claimed to have killed him in Dec 2020. Ali Darassa, leader of armed group Union for Peace in Central Africa, 5 April announced withdrawal from CPC, renewed commitment to Feb 2019 peace deal; govt 7 April excluded resuming negotiations with Darassa. Meanwhile, govt 8 April requested National Assembly lift parliamentary immunity of four opposition MPs over alleged links to CPC. Ahead of national dialogue expected first half of May, govt 19 April launched consultation process with opposition in capital Bangui; main opposition coalition COD-2020 25 April said it would boycott consultations and dialogue, called for inclusive process involving armed groups. Head of UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) Mankeur Ndiaye 5 April discussed situation in CAR with Russian Deputy FM Mikhail Bogdanov, after UN experts late March alleged “grave human rights abuses” by Russian paramilitaries, raising questions over MINUSCA’s failure to prevent abuses. Thousands, mostly ruling-party supporters, 15 April protested in Bangui after Ndiaye 9 April said solution to conflict was not military and called for dialogue.

March 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Second round of legislative polls, along with rerun in some constituencies, held without major disruption; military operations against rebels continued. Despite initial concerns that renewed fighting could erupt around 14 March votes, second round of elections for National Assembly and rerun of first round contests held in 118 of 140 total constituencies without major security incidents; some voting irregularities however reported. AU election observer mission 16 March welcomed smooth conduct of vote in its preliminary findings. Polls highlighted divisions within opposition; notably, Democratic Opposition Coalition (COD-2020), largest coalition of opposition parties, had several of its members participating in polls despite coalition’s Feb decision to boycott them. National electoral authority 21 March announced that Ruling United Hearts Movement (MCU) won 25 out of 92 seats, leaving it far from having absolute majority in National Assembly. President Touadéra 30 March sworn in for second term after winning Dec 2020 presidential election, vowed to eliminate all armed groups by end of his term. Govt pursued military offensive against rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) and rejected talks, while rebels appeared to resort to criminal activities as sign of CPC weakening. Notably, CPC  7 March robbed UN truck on Bossangoa-Paoua route, Ouham-Pendé prefecture; CPC-led attacks 11 and 13 March left two civilians killed in Kemo and Ouham-Pendé prefectures, respectively. CPC 21 March confirmed former President Bozizé new CPC general coordinator. Amid ongoing efforts by Angola and Economic Community of Central African States to support dialogue with rebels, govt continued to reject talks; Touadéra 18 March however announced for second time national dialogue with opposition parties and civil society groups, with informal talks held last week of March. UN Security Council 12 March authorised deployment of 2,750 additional troops and 940 police to help UN mission (MINUSCA) protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian access. UN humanitarian office 19 March estimated that recent crisis had displaced more than 240,000 people since Dec, bringing total number of Central Africans displaced (IDPs and refugees) to over 1.5mn, third of country’s total population.

February 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Armed forces and allies pushed back rebel coalition, but renewed fighting could erupt around 14 March run-off elections. Army, with support from Rwanda and Russia, launched counter-offensive operations against rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), partially reopening capital Bangui’s road lifeline to neighbouring Cameroon 16 Feb. Govt forces and their allies recaptured Bossembélé and Yaloké towns (Ombella-M’Poko prefecture) 4-5 Feb; Bossemptélé and Bozoum towns (Ouham-Pendé prefecture) 7 and 25 Feb respectively; Bouar, Baboua, Cantonnier and Beloko towns (Nana-Mambéré prefecture) 9-11 Feb; Bambari and Ippy towns (Ouaka prefecture) 17-19 Feb; Bossangoa, Benzambé and Kambakota towns (Ouham prefecture) 24-26 Feb; death toll unknown. CPC rebels 9 Jan ambushed UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) convoy 24km north of Bangassou, injuring two peacekeepers; next day reportedly kidnapped Russian mercenary and killed several others near Bambari. Clashes between CPC rebels and armed forces 16 Feb reportedly left at least 14 civilians dead in Bambari; NGO Amnesty International 24 Feb called for investigation. Govt-sponsored demonstrations 12 Feb erupted in Bangui against Angola-led regional efforts to establish dialogue between govt and rebel coalition. Meanwhile, Constitutional Court 1 Feb proclaimed results of Dec 2020 legislative elections, saying 22 out of 140 deputies elected in first round, including five ruling party candidates, while 61 seats require second round and new elections will be held for 57 seats in constituencies where elections could not take place due to insecurity. Main opposition coalition COD-2020 next day rejected results and announced withdrawal from electoral process, citing irregularities and violence; signs of internal dissent however appeared with prominent coalition member rejecting boycott. President Touadéra 13 Feb scheduled run-offs and rerun of first-round elections for 14 March. At start of their trial before International Criminal Court, former anti-Balaka warlords Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona 16 Feb pleaded not guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes in 2013-2014.

January 2021

Africa

Central African Republic

Coalition of armed groups allied to former President Bozizé launched attacks in push to encircle capital Bangui, while incumbent President Touadéra won 27 Dec presidential election. Newly-formed Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), alliance of country’s six most powerful rebel groups, escalated attacks against govt and UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA); by month’s end, over 200,000 civilians had been forced to flee their homes since conflict started in early Dec. Notably, CPC 3 Jan seized Bangassou city in Mbomou prefecture (south east); MINUSCA 15-16 Jan regained control of town. Army and MINUSCA troops, with support from Rwandan and Russian troops, repelled CPC attacks on Damara city (Ombella-M’Poko prefecture in west) 2 Jan, Bouar city (Nana-Mambéré prefecture in west) 9 and 17 Jan, Grimari city (Ouaka prefecture in centre) 9 Jan and on outskirts of Bangui 13 Jan; death toll unknown. Suspected CPC combatants 15 and 18 Jan ambushed MINUSCA convoys near Grimari and Bangassou, killing three peacekeepers. Military and allied forces mid- to late-Jan launched counter-offensives in bid to break rebel stranglehold on Bangui. Army 24-25 reportedly regained control of Boda city, Lobaye prefecture (west) and govt 25 Jan said military and allied forces had killed 44 rebels in Boyali village, Ombella-M’Poko prefecture. Security forces 11 Jan killed one civilian in Bangui for allegedly breaking night curfew, which was imposed 7 Jan; hours later killed another three who had gathered in protest. Authorities early Jan opened investigation into Bozizé’s alleged role in ongoing “rebellion”, 16-19 Jan arrested two generals and several soldiers and civilians in crackdown on perceived Bozizé sympathisers, and late Jan issued arrest warrant against CPC spokesman Abakar Sabone. Meanwhile, electoral commission 4 Jan declared Touadéra re-elected in first round of presidential election with 53% of votes despite reports of widespread irregularities and low turnout at 35%. Ten of 17 presidential candidates 5 Jan called for annulment of results and new election. Constitutional court 18 Jan confirmed Touadéra’s re-election, which main opposition coalition COD-2020 rejected next day.

December 2020

Africa

Central African Republic

Deadly fighting involving armed groups allied to former President Bozizé broke out ahead of 27 Dec general elections; electoral results could spark escalation in Jan. After months of uncertainty over presidential candidacy of former President Bozizé, Constitutional Court 3 Dec rejected his application, citing international arrest warrant and UN sanctions against him; Bozizé’s party same day denounced court ruling. Coalition of six armed groups, all signatories to Feb 2019 peace agreement and including some supporting Bozizé, 15 Dec announced mobilisation against govt and electoral process; 18-19 Dec took over parts of Lobaye, Ouham, Ouham-Pendé, Nana Gribizi and Ombella M’Poko prefectures in west, centre and south, blocking main supply routes to Bangui, and clashing with army and UN peacekeeping force (MINUSCA) notably around cities of Bossombele (Ombella M’Poko), Bossemptele (Ouham-Pendé) and Bambari (Ouaka); death toll unknown; 1,500 civilians reportedly fled to neighbouring Cameroon 18-23 Dec. UN 18 Dec condemned violence and called on “all actors to urgently cease hostile actions”. Govt next day said Bozizé was behind new armed coalition and accused him of “coup attempt”. At govt’s request, Russia and Rwanda 20-21 Dec deployed hundreds of troops notably around Lobaye’s capital Mbaiki. Unidentified assailants 25 Dec killed three MINUSCA troops in Dekoa town, Kémo prefecture (centre). On election day, suspected armed group members set election material on fire in Ouham-Pendé prefecture and fired shots in Ouaka, Haute-Kotto and Nana-Mambéré prefectures; also threatened voters and election officials across country. Unidentified assailants next day attacked public bus in Grimari city, Ouaka prefecture, reportedly killing several civilians including Médecins sans Frontières worker. Electoral commission 28 Dec said over 14% of polling stations were closed due to insecurity across country. Meanwhile, clashes between armed groups erupted in north east: ethnic Goula ex-Seleka group and ethnic Arab Missirias militia from neighbouring Sudan 1 Dec clashed in Boromata town, Vakaga prefecture, leaving 35 Arab Missirias and four Goula dead; army and MINUSCA immediately sent troops to patrol town.

November 2020

Africa

Central African Republic

Tensions increased over former President Bozizé’s presidential candidacy, raising risk of violence around 27 Dec general elections; armed group activity persisted across country. Electoral commission 1-10 Nov registered 22 presidential candidates, including President Touadéra and former President Bozizé. Controversy persisted over latter’s eligibility, as electoral code requires at least one year in-country residency before running for president and exact date of Bozizé’s return from exile remains unclear. Former President Djotodia 8 Nov called on Bozizé to “respect the law” to preserve “stability and peace”. Constitutional Court to release final list of candidates early Dec. Meanwhile, armed group Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) attacks decreased further in north west. 3R combatants 4 Nov, however, detained Fulani herder in Sanguere village, Ouham-Pendé prefecture; 3R reportedly repositioned on strategic axes ahead of transhumance movements, raising risk of further attacks on pastoralists in coming weeks. 3R leader Sidiki Abbas 3 Nov accused govt of failing to honour commitments made during meeting on electoral preparations last month and threatened to disrupt elections. In south east, suspected armed group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) faction led by James Nando 8 Nov attacked armed group Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) camp in Bambouti town, Haut-Mbomou prefecture, killing two UPC combatants and suffering heavy losses; clashes resumed 15 Nov, killing one civilian. Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration process continued, with over 400 armed group combatants demobilised in Vakaga (north east) and Nana-Grébizi (north) prefectures 16 Oct-3 Nov. UPC leader Ali Darassa 4 Nov said 200 UPC elements were ready to demobilise in Haute-Kotto (east) and Ouaka (centre) prefectures, called on all armed groups in east to follow suit in lead-up to general elections. Community leaders from north east, where intercommunal tensions flared in early 2020, 7-10 Nov met with Touadéra in capital Bangui, signed reconciliation agreement. UN Security Council 12 Nov extended mandate of UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) until 15 Nov 2021.

October 2020

Africa

Central African Republic

Armed group violence continued in north west and south east, and preparations for general elections moved forward. Govt representatives, UN Mission (MINUSCA) and peace agreement guarantors 3-5 Oct met armed group Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) leader, Sidiki Abbas, in Koui town, Ouham-Pendé prefecture, to discuss electoral preparations; Abbas reportedly agreed to stop blocking voter registration process in north west, same day freed three policemen kidnapped last month near Bang town, Ouham-Pendé prefecture. Meanwhile, armed group violence continued in north west. In Ouham prefecture, anti-Balaka rival factions 1 Oct clashed over control of Bowara mining site, leaving four dead; unidentified assailants 10 Oct kidnapped two herders and killed one of them near Batangafo town; NGO Doctors Without Borders 16 Oct suspended its activities in Kabo town amid persistent targeting of humanitarian workers. In south east, violence flared between anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka armed group Unity for Peace in Central Africa (UPC). After UPC 3 Oct arrested anti-Balaka leader in Pombolo village, Mbomou prefecture, groups in following days clashed in Kembé town, Basse-Kotto prefecture, Pombolo and Gambo villages, both Mbomou prefecture; MINUSCA and local authorities 6 Oct intervened to de-escalate tensions. Ahead of Dec general elections, National Electoral Authority 16 Oct completed voter registration, 27 Oct published electoral lists; moves follow Sept National Assembly decisions to extend electoral calendar deadlines but keep 27 Dec as election day. Opposition parties repeatedly denounced “poor electoral preparation” and argued that their key demands could not be met in proposed timeframe, including addressing insecurity across country and enabling refugees to vote. Meanwhile controversy persisted over eligibility of former President Bozizé, who returned to country in late 2019, as electoral code requires presidential candidates to have at least 12-month in-country residence prior to filing for candidacy.