30 June 2017

Central African Republic: Long Story, Short - The Hows and Whys of the Conflict in CAR

Photo: IRIN News
Soldats de l'ex-milice Seleka

The current armed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) began in 2012 when rebel groups from the north of the country came together as the Seleka (alliance), launched a coup, seized power, and installed rebel commander Michel Djotodia as head of state in March 2013.

Unable to control the spiraling violence, Djotodia resigned in January 2014 and was replaced by Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet who served as acting president. Catherine Samba-Panza, the then Mayor of Bangui, replaced Nguendet. She was not allowed to stand as a candidate in the election initially slated for February 2015.

Problems with election administration and instability raised concerns about the possibility of electoral violence.The elections ended up taking place in late 2015 through early 2016 without major violence due to citizen commitment to voting peacefully, the efforts of international actors and domestic civil society, the self-restraint and containment of spoilers, and respect for the transitional term limit.

Despite reports of irregularities, CAR citizens and political leaders also accepted the outcomes peacefully.It saw former Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Touadéra of the Union for Central African Renewal defeating independent candidate Anicet-Georges Dologuélé, another former Prime Minister in the second round.
The successful elections did not change much as over a year later, the country continues to experience serious violence in several regions.

The international community needs to closely monitor violence and redouble peacekeeping and peacebuilding support for the CAR authorities as the country seeks to implement disarmament, security sector reform, transitional justice, and national reconciliation.

Peacekeeping efforts have however been plagued with controversies as a wave of sexual abuse allegations have been raised against peacekeepers since their deployment in 2014. Troops accused of such behaviour have been withdrawn but sporadic conflicts keeps flaring like that of Brai that left over a hundred people dead hours after a peace deal was signed by the government and rebel groups.

- Some of the information for this blog was sourced from The United States Institute for Peace.

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