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Central African Republic

Central African Republic has been in turmoil since a violent takeover of power in 2013. The aftermath saw widespread violence as armed militia fought each other and took revenge on the population. The March 2016 election of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra brought an initial lull, but was followed by more fighting in late 2016 and early 2017 between armed groups including ex-Seleka factions and anti-balaka militias – both controlling vast areas of the country. Lasting peace is still some way off as neither the new government nor the large UN force have the means to force armed groups to negotiate and disarm. Crisis Group works to reduce the risk of large flare-ups and help defuse the country’s many conflicts, encouraging international actors to work to weaken armed groups and improve the chances of effective negotiation.

CrisisWatch Central African Republic

Deteriorated Situation

Fighting between armed groups and attacks on civilians and peacekeepers surged, especially in north and centre. In Batangafo in north, anti-balaka community defence groups and ex-Seleka militants fought each other, attacked civilians, UN peacekeepers and humanitarian workers and pillaged humanitarian facilities end Oct-early Nov, leaving several people dead; fire started during fighting destroyed three camps for displaced people leaving over 30,000 people without shelter. UN deployed more peacekeepers. In Bambari in centre, militants of ex-Seleka faction Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) 13 Nov forced people out of their homes and occupied them. In Alindao in centre, fighting between UPC militants and anti-balaka 15 Nov left at least 60 people dead including two priests; Catholic church used as shelter for displaced people burned down. In Gbabia, near Berberati in west, Siriri armed group 16 Nov attacked UN base killing peacekeeper. Two parallel mediation processes – one led by African Union (AU), another by Russia and Sudan – continued to compete for buy-in. French FM Le Drian visited capital Bangui 1-2 Nov, encouraged President Touadéra to engage with AU-led mediation rather than process led by Russia and Sudan; he pledged 1,400 rifles for army and €24mn to help pay civil servant salaries and pensions and build infrastructure. Coalition of political parties and civil society groups 12 Nov signed memorandum asking for inclusive AU-led dialogue. UN Security Council 15 Nov extended mandate of UN mission (MINUSCA) for one month to allow more time for negotiations over new twelve-month mandate; U.S. expressed reservations over France’s proposed expansion of mandate due to resource implications and Russia objected to proposed language on primacy of AU-led mediation. International Criminal Court 11 Nov issued arrest warrant for MP and former anti-balaka leader Alfred Yekatom Rombhot, known as Rambo, for war crimes and crimes against humanity; Rombhot arrested late Oct after he fired shots in national assembly, taken to Netherlands 17 Nov and 23 Nov made his first appearance at court in The Hague.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

21 Aug 2018
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. Financial Times

Thierry Vircoulon

Senior Consultant, Central Africa
30 Oct 2017
International mobilization [in the Central African Republic] is much, much slower than the deterioration of the situation on the ground. World Politics Review

Thibaud Lesueur

Consulting Senior Analyst, Central Africa
10 Oct 2017
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. The Washington Post

Thibaud Lesueur

Consulting Senior Analyst, Central Africa
23 Mar 2017
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. IRIN

Richard Moncrieff

Project Director, Central Africa
24 Feb 2017
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. IRIN

Richard Moncrieff

Project Director, Central Africa

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Africa

In the Central African Republic, Peace Requires More Than a Bigger U.N. Force

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

Statement / Africa

Twelve Points for the New African Union Commission Chairperson

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.

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Thibaud Lesueur

Consulting Senior Analyst, Central Africa