Central African Republic


Conflict Summary

The Central African Republic (CAR) has been afflicted by political turmoil, civil unrest and major outbreaks of violence for several decades. Until 1979, the country was under the oppressive rule of Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who crowned himself emperor in 1976. It remained under military rule until the election of Ange-Félix Patassé as president in 1993. The current conflict began when mainly Muslim Séléka rebels marched on the capital in March 2013, ousting President Francois Bozize. The CAR then descended into ethnic and sectarian violence, and the UN warned of a high risk of genocide. Séléka leader Michel Djotodia declared himself president in March 2013 but failed to reign in his rebel supporters, who carried out serious human rights violations. As a response, a mostly Christian and animist vigilante group known as the anti-Balaka emerged, carrying out targeted attacks against Muslim civilians. Unable to contain the violence, Djotodia was put under pressure by regional powers to resign. Following his resignation in January 2014, a transitional government led by Catherine Samba-Panza was established. Violence along ethnic and religious lines continues.