Central African Republic

CAR peace deal in trouble

Anti-Balaka combattants patrol in the parish of Gambo, southeastern Central African Republic
CAR has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960

A key peace deal to resolve the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) is at risk of collapsing less than a month after it was agreed, news agency AFP reports.

Three militia groups which were among the 14 armed groups that signed the Khartoum Agreement with President Faustin-Archange Touadera, disagreed with the make-up of the new government announced on Sunday.

The Democratic Front of the Central African People (FPDC) said it had, "resolved purely and simply to withdraw from the peace process", adding that the government was "far from being inclusive".

Another large militia, the Patriotic Movement for Central Africa (MPC), citing the same reason, said it considered the accord was "void".

The militias were not happy that the central government held onto sensitive key posts, while six of the 14 armed groups obtained no post at all, AFP reports.

CAR has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960.

It was plunged into turmoil in 2013 when mainly Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power in the majority Christian country. A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-Balaka, rose up to counter Seleka.

Seleka handed power to a transitional government in 2014 under international pressure but months of violence followed and the country was effectively partitioned, in spite of the presence of a UN peacekeeping force and a French mission.

The country is undergoing an internationally supervised transition involving a constitutional referendum as well as presidential and parliamentary elections.

Analysis: What does the CAR peace deal achieve?

President Faustin Touadera signed a peace deal with 14 rebel groups

Tomi Oladipo

BBC Africa security correspondent

Central African president Faustin-Archange Touadera (L) signs a peace deal next to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum on February 05, 2019.
Seven previous attempts at peace agreements have failed

It has not been smooth sailing. Only a few days into the talks – a fortnight ago – the prospect of peace was further threatened as the government rejected the rebels' demands for amnesty and inclusion in a new unity government.

The armed groups say immunity will encourage the laying down of arms but critics say the real aim is to avoid prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The chairman of the AU Commission Moussa Faki welcomed the agreement, saying he was happy for the people of the Central African Republic (see earlier post).

It is this population who have borne the brunt of the conflict, with an estimated 2.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

It is now likely that many of those who caused their predicament will not be held responsible.

Some elements of the anti-Balaka might also feel like they have not benefited as much, having been the only rebels publicly targeted so far by the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

The parties involved in this deal will have to work against a poor recent record in which there have been up to seven previous failed attempts at peace agreements since 2013.

The rebel groups still control large parts of the country and their presence is unlikely to be challenged now.

Opposition parties were not involved in the talks and they will move further down the political pecking order as the rebels get more involved in government.

Previous attempts by the AU to broker talks in Bangui, the capital of CAR, came to nothing.

While it worked with the UN as the mediators of this round of talks, the process in Khartoum was actually kick-started by Russia – which has been increasingly involved in the CAR in recent years.

Moscow has mining interests in the African nation and provides security for President Touadera.

Sudan, the host of the talks, will be hoping that the current success of the negotiations will improve its image, having been diplomatically and economically stranded for years.

CAR peace a 'spirit of reconciliation'

African Union: Central African Republic peace deal will last this time
In the Central African Republic there is a strong sense of hope that six years of fighting could be coming to an end. Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict but a new peace deal between the government and 14 armed groups has now been agreed. It is expected to be signed on Tuesday in the capital Bangui. Smail Chergui, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, helped negotiate the peace deal.

(Pic: Smail Chergui, AU commissioner for Peace and Security ; Credit: AFP)

Why CAR is 'the worst place to be a child'

The Central African Republic has been called the worst place in the world to be a child.

Healthcare is a particular concern.

When the BBC travelled to Kaga Bandoro, 400km (249 miles) from the capital Bangui, they found just one doctor to serve 200,000 people.

The UN co-ordinator in the area, Bitumba Tipo-Tipo Mayoyo, told the BBC that doctors were too scared to work there.


People in the town of Kaga Bandora survive on humanitarian aid and UN peacekeepers

Amnesty calls for UN 'neglect' probe in CAR

BBC World Service

The rights group, Amnesty International, has called on the United Nations to investigate reports that UN peacekeers in the Central African Republic left their posts as civilians were being massacred at a refugee camp last month.

Amnesty said as many as a 100 people were killed when an armed group attacked the camp at Alindao in the south.

According to multiple witnesses, peacekeepers from the UN mission Minusca retreated in an armoured vehicle, leaving up to 18,000 people unprotected.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council renewed Minusca's mandate for another year.

France gives weapons to CAR

BBC World Service

France has handed over more than 1,000 assault rifles to the military in the Central African Republic (CAR), where rebel groups have forced about 750,000 people to flee their homes.

The UN imposed an arms embargo five years ago after civil war broke out - but exemptions have been made, including last year when Russia supplied a similar consignment of weapons.

Correspondents say Russia has mining interests in the CAR and has deployed hundreds of military advisers.

After handing over the weapons the French armed forces minister, Florence Parly, called on all countries, including Russia, to support African Union-led peace talks in CAR.

Russia has been criticised for organising a different set of peace talks.

Two-thirds of children in CAR 'need help urgently'

A soldier of Tanzanian contingent from the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)
The UN has a peacekeeping force in the CAR

The UN's children's agency Unicef says two-thirds of the children in the Central African Republic - 1.5 million in all - need humanitarian aid and the crisis is getting worse.

In a report, Unicef says one in four children in the CAR is displaced and thousands have been subjected to sexual violence, yet this year the organisation has received less than half the funds it needs to help them.

After years of sectarian conflict, armed groups control much of the CAR. Attacks on aid workers have quadrupled since 2017.

Read more:Singing for peace in the Central African Republic