Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

16 September 2013

Central African Republic: CAR - Teetering On the Brink of Further Conflict

Photo: Pierre Holtz/UNICEF
Armed man, Birao, Central African Republic.

analysis

Earlier this year, South African interest in the conflict in the Central African Republic was piqued by the death of 14 South African soldiers in Bangui.

But after the withdrawal of South Africa's soldiers, and government's fumbling attempts at explaining why they were in the first place, the Central African Republic has continued on a downward spiral of lawlessness, largely unnoticed by South Africa.

Six months after the coup d'état that forced Francois Bozizé out of power and that exposed the cost of South Africa's ambitious foreign policy, the Central African Republic (CAR) is still embroiled in conflict.

Displacement, sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, a proliferation of arms, high levels of malaria and the collapse of the public health system have marred efforts to stabilise the country.

And while South African troops are (thankfully) no longer on the frontlines in Bangui, the conflict the South African National Defence Force (SADF) was ensnared in continues to threaten the stability of the entire region.

Last week, more than 100 people were killed in clashes in Bossangoa in the north east of the country between remnants of forces loyal to Bozizé, and factions of the Seleka rebel coalition.

On Friday, the...

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