Publication: Armed Conflict Survey 2016
05 May 2016
While still troubled by sporadic sectarian violence, Central African Republic was generally more peaceful in 2015 than in the preceding two years of conflict. The country’s leaders made considerable progress in setting a timetable for presidential and parliamentary elections in December, despite the fact that fighting periodically threatened the transitional process. Nonetheless, there remained many unresolved issues between Muslim Séléka rebels and the predominantly Christian anti-balaka militias.
Protests broke out in Bangui in early December, after the Constitutional Court rejected former president François Bozizé’s bid to run in the elections. Despite having been sanctioned by the United Nations for his role in the violence, Bozizé remained popular among the country’s Christians, and there were reports that he travelled freely in the region, undermining attempts to implement a transition. The elections were also threatened by Nourredine Adam, who had been sanctioned by the UN as leader of former Séléka faction the Patriotic Front for the Renaissance of Central Africa. He warned that his group would not allow voting to take place in the territory it controlled in the northeast, declaring in late 2015 that the area had become the autonomous Republic of Logone, with Kaga-Bandoro as its capital.
The move followed secret negotiations in Nairobi between former president Michel Djotodia, an anti-balaka group led by Joachim Kokate and Séléka negotiators led by Adam. The talks concluded with the signing in early 2015 of an agreement on disarmament and demobilisation, amnesty for all perpetrators of violence and the removal of Central African Republic’s transitional authorities. The deal was denounced by the country’s authorities – because they had not been party to the negotiations – as well as the UN and the African Union, all of which called for an end to the Nairobi process that was perceived as unproductive. Regardless of its legitimacy, the agreement was rejected by the Séléka and anti-balaka armed groups on the ground, who continued to carry out acts of violence.