Publication: Armed Conflict Survey 2017
09 May 2017
Central African Republic Central African Republic began 2016 on a surprisingly positive note, holding peaceful presidential and legislative elections in January and February. Despite isolated security incidents, logistical challenges and some allegations of irregularities, the vote proceeded in a calm, orderly manner. Following the nearly three-year political transition and suspension of electoral activity under President Catherine Samba-Panza, the elections were widely perceived as a major step towards stability. Faustin-Archange Touadéra, who was elected to replace Samba-Panza with more than 60% of the vote, began significant efforts to create a stable government, aiming to reconcile the parties to the conflict in the country and to address prevailing security issues. In mid-April, Touadéra appointed both political allies and former rivals to his first cabinet – although he left out supporters of Christian and Muslim militias.
While sporadic intercommunal clashes and the activities of roving non-state armed groups continued to affect rural areas of Central African Republic, as well as the cities of Bambari and Kaga-Bandoro, the country was generally more peaceful in the first five months of 2016 than it had been for several years. However, there was a resurgence of instability and lawlessness across huge swathes of territory from June onwards, with conflict parameters such as the rates of recorded fatalities, violent incidents and internal displacement at higher levels than those in 2015. Sectarian attacks remained the predominant form of violence throughout 2016.