Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has been in turmoil since a violent takeover of power in 2013. The aftermath saw armed groups conclude a multitude of peace agreements even as they continued to fight each other and launch attacks on the civilian population. The latest agreement, sponsored by the African Union and signed in February 2019 by the government and fourteen armed groups, raised hopes of peace. The violence has not stopped, however, and political tensions are again on the rise. Through on-the-ground reporting and advocacy, Crisis Group provides concrete advice on how to navigate both the critical electoral period in late 2020 and the long term, focusing on how to persuade armed groups to lay down their weapons.

CrisisWatch Central African Republic

Unchanged Situation

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.

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