by Kellin McGowan (June 2021)
Nearly a third of the country’s population, which represents 1.5 million people, has been displaced as a result of the crisis in the Central African Republic. Of this number, 610,000 are refugees.
Here are the key players:
Seleka. ex-Seleka: (Selka) Mainly Muslim group that carried out a successful coup against the CAR government. (ex-Selka) Group formed after the dissolution of the Seleka.
Anti-Balaka: Christian rebel group formed in response to the Seleka’s violence, committed violence against Muslim citizens.
Président Faustin Archange Touadera: Elected president of the country in 2016. Has tried to calm the region’s violence through disarmament; however, this has largely been ignored by rebel groups.
UN Security Council: Established a peacekeeping force in 2014 composed of African and French forces. Many of the security council’s members have been the victims of violence.
Citizens: Citizens of the Central African Republic sit in the crossfire between the two rebel groups. Consequently, not only have many been killed, but critical infrastructure has been destroyed.
The Central African Republic is in the midst of a significant humanitarian crisis: over 75% of the country’s citizenry live in poverty, half the country does not have what are considered adequate levels of food, only 3% of people in the country have access to clean drinking water.
The crisis started in 2013, the year in which the Seleka group overthrew the government of then-President Francois Bozize. Following this overthrow, conflict between the anti-Balaka movement and Muslims started.
Refugees from this region flee to countries such as Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of Congo.
Why is it so hard for refugees from the Central African Republic to seek refuge?
Although the country has seen increasing levels of peace, seeking refuge still remains dangerous, as an individual might have to pass through territory controlled by armed rebels.