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Country Watch


the Séléka coalition resumed rebellion against the government, eventually chasing Bozizé from the country. The Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC), an economic body of the African Union, brokered an agreement resulting in a transitional assembly that selected Djotodia as President.


Since then, the Central African Republic has experienced an unprecedented degree of inter- nal militarization. Widespread destruction of the country’s administrative and judicial infrastructure has disintegrated many of its state institutions. Moreover, the rapid proliferation of armed militias eroded Séléka’s leadership. Although the coali- tion was formally dissolved, ex-Séléka members refused to disband and continued fighting. This created opposing militia groups. The conflict was further exacerbated by the cross-border move- ment of small arms and armed groups.


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Much of the conflict is between Séléka’s pre- dominantly Muslim militia and the anti-Balaka’s predominantly Christian militia. Because of the widespread violence and ethno-religious dimen- sion of the conflict, the United Nations warned, on November 2013, that the Central African Re- public was on the verge of genocide. On Decem- ber 8, ex-Séléka rebels raided a hospital in Amitie, executing at least 10 patients. The following day, the government banned everyone but foreign peacekeepers and the presidential guard from the Bangui streets. The International Committee of the Red Cross warned that, not counting Muslim casualties, whose bodies were directly brought to mosques for burial, at least 500 people were killed during the week of December 2, 2013. By December 13, the United Nations High Commis- sioner for Refugees warned that there were over 600 casualties and 159,000 displaced persons throughout the country.


On December 15, Djotodia attempted to quell the pandemonium by discussing a possible amnesty for both groups, but he was unsuccessful and the


violence continued to escalate, prompting neigh- boring Chad and Rwanda to pledge peacekeep- ers. On January 10, 2014, facing immense pres- sure from sectarian leaders, Djotodia resigned from the presidency shortly after a CEEAC sum- mit about the conflict. Despite this brief reprise, the violence resumed on January 18, when gun- men fired upon a convoy of fleeing Muslim refu- gees. Within one month, another 1,000 people had died.


On January 20, the transitional government held elections, this time requiring candidates to prove that they had no links to either the Séléka or anti- Balaka groups. Bangui’s mayor, Catherine Samba- Panza, was elected as acting-President. Despite renewed efforts towards stability, the post-Djo- todia executive is working without a functional police or judicial infrastructure, and the violence persists.


The humanitarian consequences of the conflict are immense. In addition to the thousands of casual- ties, aid workers report over 500,000 displaced persons across the country. Chaloka Beyani, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, posits this number around 1 million. Furthermore, the United Nations Children’s Fund reports that over 6,000 child soldiers may be involved and subject to horrific violence. On January 22, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved sanctions and sending in European Union-backed peacekeepers with a mandate to use force. Spe- cifically, the UN Security Council emphasized us- ing “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.


The United States has also condemned the con- flict; Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened targeted sanctions against “those who further de- stabilize the situation,” adding to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s call for a “swift restoration of constitutional order.” These sanc- tions would supplement an existing sanctions regime by adding travel bans and asset freezes


ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 4 » May 2014


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