Violence Returns in Central African Republic  

UN Peacekeepers in CAR
UN Peacekeepers in CAR

Several UN peacekeepers have been killed in CAR in last two months. The communal clashes killed more than 150 and displaced around 100,000 others in the recent wake of violence. International community warns the deadly CAR violence returns.

After the murder of a Moroccan man on Sunday in Bangassou, two UN peacekeepers, happened to be Moroccans, have been killed. The Christian anti-Balaka militia  group is assumed to be the perpetrator who have been ravaging the common lives in Central African Republic along with Seleka militias for the last few years. The assault took place on Sunday when the UN peacekeepers were restocking water for the town’s needy mouths suffering in the vicious communal clash that has plagued tens of thousands of Muslims and Christians in the hunger-stricken central African country.

According to the UN report, nine peacekeepers lost their lives only in Bangassou this year. Condemning the new attack on the peacekeeping force in CAR, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement that he “is appalled by attacks against United Nations peacekeepers.”

The UN website for Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) reports that “the Secretary-General ‘is deeply concerned’ about the continued fighting in the country’s southeast and calls on all parties to cease violence, the spokesperson said, noting that the UN chief offered his condolences to the bereaved family and to the Government of Morocco, and wished speedy recovery to those injured.”

 A timeline of anarchic CAR governments

The timeline of anarchy in Central African Republic is appalling. After the country’s independence in 1960 from France, David Dacko became the first President of CAR. He started the practice autocratic authoritarian governments that persisted to destabilize the country for the coming next decades.  He banned all the political parties and became the president of the country in an election where he happened to be the sole candidate and his political party MESAN was the only political party approved by the state to participate in election.

The country was not well off with Dacko. He was ousted by the CAR military commander named Jean-Bedel Bokassa. Mr. Bokassa is internationally known as the ‘ruthless leader’ of Central African Republic who declared himself the president of the country for life in 1972. He declared himself the emperor of the country in 1976 and renamed the country the Central Republic Empire.

This self-declared emperor, however, couldn’t continue to rule for long as a French force was deployed to oust him. Coup after coup continued for the next decades.  The Central African Republic in its long route since independence never really found a true democratic leader except military commanders, authoritarians and rebels.

The communal clashes left thousands dead

In 2013, two rebel groups, anti-Balaka militia and Seleka began fighting each other. The Muslim Seleka fighters and the anti-Balakas militias being Christians turned the strife into a communal one. Tens of thousands of Muslims were either displaced or tortured by the anti-Balaka militias and  the Selekas, at the same time, were accused to ravaging the Christian lives.

The international outcry of the communal violence led the UN Security Council to approve the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in October, 2013. In December of the same year, France deployed 1600 soldiers in an attempt to disarm the Christian and Muslims militias who had already been accused of killing hundreds of people.

A commander of the anti-Balaka militia collects weapons handed in by children released by the group during a release ceremony in in Bambari in the Central African Republic. Photo: UNICEF/ Le Du
A commander of the anti-Balaka militia collects weapons handed in by children released by the group during a release ceremony in in Bambari in the Central African Republic. Photo: UNICEF/ Le Du

UN Security Council authorized a peacekeeping force of 12,000 troops in Central African Republic in April 2014 that followed an agreement between the Seleka and anti-Balaka to a ceasefire. The Brazzaville peace talks, however, fails as the CAR government rejects the ceasefire deal alleging that it was not involved in the peace talks.

In 2015, UN accused Christian militia of ethnic cleansing as they tortured tens of thousands of Muslims and EU accused Iran and China of supplying Seleka fighters arms illegally. A grave communal clash plagued the CAR after a Muslim taxi-driver killed in Bangui in September that year prompting Pope Francis to visit the country in an attempt to promote peace in November.

The CAR tension escalates, again

In February 2016, Faustin-Archange Touadera was elected the President of CAR. The surge of violence was apparently deescalating with several thousands of peacekeepers engaged in action. But things began to get back to the old vicious circle in 2017 as foreign  forces were being withdrawn. In last few months, several peacekeepers have been killed and a new surge of violence is seemingly engulfing the central and northeastern parts of the country.

In CAR, more than 150 have been killed and around 100,000 of others have been displaced only in last two months. The poor central African country is yet to recover from the wounds of the sectarian  violence began in 2013 that left tens of thousands of people either killed or displaced attracting international outcry. The recent conflicts are warning the revival of the violence back to full rhythm all over the country.

About Masum Billah 37 Articles
Masum Billah is a Staff Writer for The GeoStrategists. A Graduate from the Department of International Relations at the University of Dhaka, Masum Billah is a human rights activist. He writes columns on human rights, foreign policy, and terrorism.
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