Since 2013, deadly inter-religious and inter-communal warfare has erupted in the mineral-rich Central African Republic (CAR). A peace accord was struck in February 2019 between the government and 14 rebel groups, but violence attributed to former president Bozize and his backers threatens to derail the agreement.
According to experts, the chaos began after the constitutional court dismissed Bozize’s presidential candidacy in December. With 53% of the vote, Faustin Archange Touadera was re-elected, although he continues to confront opposition from Bozize-linked rebels.
Increase of violence-related cases in CAR
Following the continued chaos in the CAR decided to increase bilateral forces and security forces to deal with the situation. Additionally, the CAR government invited Russian troops to conduct CAR training in its military.
But since the increase in troops in CAR the situation in CAR has become among the most dangerous in the world. CAR troops, bilateral forces, and other personnel have committed numerous abuses of human rights and international law. According to experts the violations have never exceeded those lately committed and detailed by MINUSCA.
The number of sexual violence-related occurrences reported in 2021 have been five times greater than in 2020 as an example. Due to this the United States, the United Kingdom, and France have accused Russian mercenaries of working alongside Central African Republic forces. The nations accuse the Russians of committing human rights violations against civilians and obstructing UN peacekeeping. The Russian government has denied the charges, accusing the Western nations of carrying out an “anti-Russia political hit job.”
United Nations Security Council meeting
The exchanges took place at a United Nations Security Council meeting. Mankeur Ndiaye, the UN special representative for the Central African Republic, expressed grave concern about the country’s security forces and “bilateral forces and other security forces” launching a military counter-offensive against a coalition of rebel groups supporting CAR’s former president Francois Bozize.
A representative of the Biden administration expressed that the U.S remained extremely troubled” by Russia’s failure to prevent its mercenaries from blocking MINUSCA’s freedom of movement on a regular basis. France’s UN Ambassador Nicolas De Riviere on the other hand called the situation in CAR dramatic pointing out extrajudicial murders, gang rapes, torture, school occupations, and violence targeting Muslim populations. The French ambassador stated that all the experts monitoring the situation in the CAR pointed the responsibility to a new actor. The experts believe the new actor operates alongside the Central African armed forces and whose status remains a mystery.
Russia denies all allegation against them
Britain’s deputy ambassador James Roscoe stated the armed groups in the CAR were fomenting instability in order to line their own pockets. The deputy ambassador added that while the groups fill their pockets they commit human rights violations, including acts of sexual violence. Roscoe said he believed the human rights violations were not only being committed by armed groups but also by members of the national armed forces and Russian private military personnel accompanying them.
The Russian deputy U.N ambassador Anna Evstigneeva has however denied all allegations made against Russia. Anna stated that Russian instructors were successfully enhancing the professional expertise of the Central African security forces. She added that the instructors were not taking part in military actions against illegal armed groups.