Bozizé’s armed rebellion inflames violent situation in CAR

Bozizé’s armed rebellion inflames violent situation in CAR

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Cape Town – The creation of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) rebels has further complicated the security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has said on Wednesday.

The CPC coalition, composed of six major armed groups that signed the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation, was formed in December 2020, before the country’s general election and is responsible for attacks across the country.

The CPC, led by former President Francois Bozize, launched a series of attacks nationwide and captured several towns in an effort to derail the country’s elections and dismantle President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s government. Touadéra won the elections that were held amid increased violence and was re-elected for his second term in office in January.

According to the United Nations (UN), over 276,000 people have been displaced within the country since mid-December while thousands have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.

Bozize was removed from power in 2013 by predominantly Muslim rebels known as Seleka, plunging the country into violence and instability when their brutal rule gave rise to the anti-Balaka Christian militias.

The ISS said the ongoing conflict in CAR presents a conundrum for all stakeholders to resolve, despite plans and agreements to end it.

“Recent skirmishes on the Chad-CAR border and ensuing tensions between the two countries show that a lasting solution to the question of armed groups can only be found through a coordinated regional response,” said Mohamed M Diatta, ISS researcher.

Early this month, special representative of the UN Secretary-General, François Louncény Fall said addressing these multiple threats, from terrorist attacks to border skirmishes requires coordinated efforts and strong support from the international community.

Briefing the UN Security Council on the Secretary-General’s latest situation report, Fall, who also serves as head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), said political tensions and violence continue to threaten stability and civilian safety in CAR.

In March, the UN Security Council increased its Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA) from 11,650 to 14,400 military personnel, and from 2,080 to 3,020 police personnel. This was intended to improve MINUSCA’s ability to protect civilians. Over the years, there have been calls for the mission to have an offensive mandate, which the UNSC has been reluctant to grant.

Tackling the CAR’s security situation is complicated, the ISS said. It must be done while ensuring that civilians are protected from the warring parties, including the CAR government and its allies. Inclusive dialogue with the non-armed political opposition is also necessary to bring calm to the political and social environment, and to begin the country’s reconstruction.

The PSC’s visit this week is important in marking the AU’s commitment to the peace process in CAR.

“But unless it gets an accurate picture of the political and security situation on the ground, adjusting and improving the AU’s strategy will be difficult,” Diatta said.

“The PSC should help strengthen ties between the AU and UN to push for the proper implementation of the 2019 peace agreement. A joint visit of the PSC and UNSC Sanctions Committee could help achieve that.”

Diatta said Africa’s three non-permanent UNSC members could set up a more permanent link between the two councils. The PSC also needs to encourage ECCAS to play a more active role in stabilising the CAR and the region.

“Ultimately though, to end the cycle of instability in the CAR, a new approach is needed. The AU must proactively ensure that the security arrangements in the 2019 peace agreement are carried out.

“In some parts of the country where armed groups have reneged on the deal, the idea of mixed security units needs to be revised and the perpetrators of violence held to account,” Diatta said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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