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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

Unchanged Situation

Armed groups continued to cause insecurity in provinces and African Union (AU) and Russia brokered parallel talks among armed groups. Anti-balaka militants 2 Aug temporarily took control of Lioto village in Ouaka province in centre-south before ex-Seleka fighters pushed them back, 25 people reportedly killed. Unidentified assailants looted convoy of International Committee of the Red Cross 6km from Kaga-Bandoro in north 11 Aug. As part of AU mediation initiative, facilitators met representatives of fourteen armed groups for third time in Bouar in west 27-30 Aug to finalise joint demands. Russia organised parallel talks in Sudanese capital Khartoum 28 Aug at which main leaders of strongest armed groups signed preliminary agreement; they included anti-balaka leader Maxime Mokom and ex-Seleka leaders Nourredine Adam and Abdoulaye Hissene of Popular Front for the Central African Renaissance (FPRC), Mahamat al-Khatim of Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC) and Ali Darass of Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC). After unidentified gunmen killed three Russian journalists investigating alleged presence of Wagner private military contractor 30 July, Russian govt said killers were “thieves” and denied any responsibility. EU 13 Aug said it had expanded its military training mission in CAR and extended it for two years until 19 Sept 2020; EU has also changed mission’s mandate so that, in addition to providing strategic advice to defence ministry, military personnel and armed forces, it can also advise presidency and interior ministry. U.S. handed over 48 of planned 57 military vehicles to army 6 Aug. China’s Poly Technologies handed over 70 vehicles to defence ministry 8 Aug. Russia and CAR signed military cooperation agreement near Moscow 21 Aug, which reportedly frames avenues of future cooperation, including opportunities to study in Russia.

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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