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Central African Republic: Preventing a New Attempt at Destabilisation
Central African Republic: Preventing a New Attempt at Destabilisation
Report 219 / Africa

中非危机:从掠夺到稳定

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自2012年12月起困扰中非共和国的危机——尤其是当局及武装团体的掠夺——导致了这个国家的崩溃。,前政权遗留下来的执政不力问题在“塞雷卡”的统治下继续恶化。“塞雷卡”的领导人掠夺国家资源,控制中非的非法经济网络。如果要结束这种掠夺性统治的循环,并以和平方式建立起一个可以正常运转、保护公民的国家,就需要中非的国际伙伴将恢复经济、反腐败以及打击非法贩运放在和安全问题同等重要的优先位置。只有在政府、联合国及其他国际参与者之间建立紧密的伙伴关系,让外国顾问与政府关键部门的公务员并肩合作,才能应对这些挑战。

短暂的“塞雷卡”统治(2013年3月至12月)期间,当政者言行不一:他们宣称积极的意愿,但实际上却和前政权一样,掠夺公共资金,滥用手中权力,中饱私囊。尽管“塞雷卡”的战斗人员之前就参与过非法活动,但该组织掌权之后便立刻控制了利润丰厚的贩运网络(黄金、钻石及象牙)。他们的制度性掠夺摧毁了本已名存实亡的国家。中非大多数商人为穆斯林,因此反巴拉卡武装力量针对穆斯林的报复行动加剧了经济崩溃。

国家政体崩溃之前,中非的经济就已经解体了。不过,现在由非盟、联合国、欧盟、美国及法国五方领导的国际干预行动基本只侧重于安全问题的解决。虽然部队动员正在进行,但如果冲突的主要原因——根深蒂固的掠夺行为——没有得到解决,国际社会的干预只会再次失败。保护公民十分重要,但重新恢复经济活力以及改善公共财政管理也很重要,后两者有助于建立有效的公共治理体系,以向包括穆斯林和基督徒在内的所有中非公民提供服务。

联合国将于2014年9月部署新的特派团(联合国驻中非多层面稳定特派团)。除了执行其现有任务,即保护平民,协助政治过渡,支持人道主义救援工作,监控人权状况,新的特派团还需改变激励机制,以提高中非政府执政能力。他们应当优先重建经济及公共机构,打击走私。区域各国以及相关的多边组织也应参与其中。更加全面的经济复兴战略应当包括对中非国内外的掠夺者实施针对性的制裁。

某些与武装团体有联系或者有意参加总统竞选(暂时来说竞选还只是一种假设)的政客可能会阻挠中非与国际社会建立紧密的伙伴关系。但过渡政府对于强有力国际支持的需求,有助于建立这样的伙伴关系,有助于采取对于稳定国家、推动治理变革至关重要的政策。

UN peacekeeping soldiers guard school compound used as an electoral centre at the end of the presidential and legislative elections, in the predominantly Muslim PK5 neighbourhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, 14 February 2016. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
Alert / Africa

Central African Republic: Preventing a New Attempt at Destabilisation

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.

As the donor conference for the Central African Republic (CAR) takes place in Brussels on 17 November, the post-election status quo is increasingly fragile. The stalemate blocking negotiations on the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of armed groups has raised tensions which could result in renewed destabilisation. Grievances of the parties in CAR’s crisis are growing in a context of heightened vulnerability: the dry season is approaching, the French military mission Sangaris officially ended on 31 October and the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSCA) shows continued weaknesses.

End of the Status Quo on the Ground as UN Mission Is Put to the Test

Since taking office in March 2016, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra has engaged in dialogue with the ex-Seleka (a coalition of armed groups mainly from the north east) and anti-balaka self-defence militia to try to strike a new deal on DDR. But talks have stalled due to the ex-Seleka’s desire to join the army, and chances that the government and armed groups can find a compromise position are currently very slim. The decision of hard-line ex-Seleka factions not to take part in the latest DDR discussions in Bangui signalled a serious problem.

At stake in the DDR talks is the future composition of the army – the Gordian knot of the crisis. Anti-balaka and ex-Seleka armed groups have not lost their ability to cause harm and the stalemate on DDR is gradually consolidating the de facto division of the country. At the end of the rainy season, some ex-Seleka groups met in Bria and neighbouring Chad before a wave of violence shook the centre of the country (in Kaga-Bandoro mid-October and Bambari at the end of October).

The onset of the dry season has allowed armed groups to be more mobile, causing an increase in attacks against villages and banditry on main roads. Armed groups have been sighted along the highly coveted cattle herding routes in areas including around Ngaoundaye, Koui, Yelewa, Markounda and Kabo. The territorial partition has allowed ex-Seleka groups to further entrench themselves in some areas and consolidate their sources of revenue by banning all government administration. As the ex-Seleka have reactivated, some anti-balaka groups have also started to regroup.

In Bangui, the capital, despite the departure of some armed group leaders in October, the PK5 neighbourhood still poses a serious security threat. On 4 October, Captain Mombeka, previously aide de camp to transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza, was killed in the middle of the street. Several Muslim residents were killed in revenge. On 30 October, fighting between armed groups in the same neighbourhood killed two leaders, Abdul Danda and Issa Capi (aka “50/50”), and at least eight other people. Sporadic clashes resumed on 2 November.

This impasse has undermined President Touadéra and MINUSCA, both the subject of growing popular frustration.

MINUSCA’s peacekeepers have been under constant attack. Their actions have been publicly criticised by members of the government, civil society organisations and the national press to the point that petitions have circulated against UN contingents accused of collusion with armed groups. Resentment against UN troops has turned into open hostility: on 24 October the Civil Society Reflection Group organised a protest march with the slogan “MINUSCA Out” which collapsed into violence and resulted in four deaths. More recently, three Muslim UN soldiers were almost lynched in Bossangoa.

The End of the Honeymoon

Touadéra’s honeymoon after his comfortable electoral victory, thanks to the support of many politicians, was short-lived. Within Bangui’s incestuous political microcosm, the tensions apparent before the elections are now resurfacing. Relations between legislative and executive powers are tense with the prime minister barely escaping a no-confidence vote just months after taking office. Civil society organisations and religious leaders are publicly expressing their disappointment, as opposition parties like the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC) and the Union for Central African Renewal (URCA) are making clear their disapproval. At the same time, former President Bozizé’s clan is secretly pushing for his return to power (his son Francis Bozizé returned to Bangui in August) and some members of the government are double dealing by maintaining alliances with undesirable groups.

Some players have poisoned the atmosphere further by claiming that security will be restored by the Central African Armed Forces (FACA). Such a false and demagogic promise plays on the population’s despair. Current attempts by the government to find support for military training from foreign armies known for their brutality will only complicate security sector reform.

The deadlock in DDR negotiations and the UN’s inability to improve security create ideal conditions for those who wish to destabilise the new government. Tactics to do so have been tried and tested on several occasions including in October in Bangui when bad news was exploited to spark urban unrest. Renewed violence by ex-Seleka members in the PK5 neighbourhood or the countryside could be manipulated to create an uprising in the capital, particularly during one of the president’s numerous trips abroad.

Recommendations

To avoid a new attempt to destabilise the country or even overthrow the current leadership, and to unblock DDR talks, the following actions should be taken:

To the UN Security Council:

  • Confirm that MINUSCA will act immediately to prevent any attempted coup in Bangui;
     
  • Make necessary preventive operational arrangements to protect Bangui, state institutions and the president; and
     
  • Give MINUSCA the authority and means to arrest certain ex-Seleka warlords, in accordance with Security Council Resolution S/RES/2301 of 26 July 2016.

To President Touadéra:

  • Broaden his political base by opening the government to opposition parties and regularly consulting opposition party leaders;
     
  • Communicate to the public honestly about the current state of the FACA, and begin structural reform of the security forces including by cleaning up and renewing their personnel so that the country’s various ethnic groups and regions are represented; and
     
  • Refrain from soliciting military training from countries whose armies are known for their brutality and lack of professionalism;

To Chadian President Idriss Déby, who has well-known ties to armed group leaders in CAR:

  • Use his influence to convince certain ex-Seleka leaders to reduce their claims to army and government positions.

To the government of France:

  • Warn off potential coup plotters and underline, together with partners like the African Union, that the international community will not recognise any government installed by a coup, and that its sponsors and organisers would be held accountable for all abuses; and
     
  • Make available quickly to the UN mission the drones promised by the defence ministry in order to pre-empt any hostile moves.

To donors participating in the Brussels conference on 17 November, including the European Union:

  • Provide assistance for stabilisation and crisis management with a timeframe of at least five years;
     
  • Direct the non-humanitarian portion of this aid toward improving public finances and structural reform of the security forces, and prioritise these two aspects, critical for rebuilding a functioning state;
     
  • Assess realistically the CAR government’s capacity to put in place projects worth tens of millions of euros and implement them accordingly; and
     
  • Devote a considerable portion of the aid to projects directly contributing to the recovery of crisis-affected communities and improving the skills of their members.