Violence erupts between Central African Republic rebels

Around 1,500 displaced citizens currently live in Bria Around 1,500 displaced citizens currently live in Bria © Phillip Kleinfeld, giornalista freelance e collaboratore di IRIN news

13 June 2017
A report on May 18th, 2017 was launched by IRIN News regarding the violence between rebel groups in the Central African Republic.

The Central African Republic (CAR) started struggling with conflict after the Seleka, a Muslim rebel alliance, overtook Francois Bozizé’s government. In return, this triggered backlash from the Christian militia called the anti-balaka. The violence between these two alliances have taken hundreds of lives and destroyed many villages.

The most recent violence is a result of the disbanded Seleka fighting each other. One of the groups are the Fulani-dominated rebels from the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC), and the other is the rebels led by Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC), which also includes those of the anti-balaka. The violence started when the FPRC asked for an independent state in northern CAR, which was rejected by the UPC. Throughout the years the clashing between the groups has transformed into war.

In the beginning of the year, much of the fighting was around Bambari. The UN peacekeeping force, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), has contributed to stopping some of the violence in the Bambari region. But even with the efforts of the MINUSCA, the operation could not prevent the ongoing spread of violence throughout the country. Some of the towns affected were Goubali, Bakouma, Nzako, and Alindao.

Paul Ronan, a researcher from Invisible Children, notes that there is a “security vacuum” that is starting to emerge. This is a result of the mission to capture Joseph Kony ending, therefore resulting in a withdrawal of United States’ and Ugandan troops. Ronan explains that the withdrawal of the troops has “created a vacuum that other armed groups can fill”, as much of this fighting did not occur when the troops were there.

Along with the fight for power over land, a surge of violence on ethnic lines as emerged. The FPRC and anti-balaka have targeted Fulani civilian that are associated with the UPC, and vice versa.

In a makeshift camp near a UN base in Bria, UPC combatants have forced families to flee their villages after killing civilians and burning down homes. On the opposite side of town, Fulani civilians in Bria are living in enclaves under the protection of UN peacekeepers. However, enclaves face imminent threat as well. In March 2017 an enclave was breached by anti-balaka, who attacked civilians with spears and hunting rifles.

Along with civilians, international interveners face increasingly dangerous threats. 33 incidents regarding humanitarians have been recorded since the first quarter of the year. The increase in fighting as well as access challenges have aggravated the underfunded humanitarian crisis.

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