Central African Republic conflict (2013–2014)

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A map of Africa showing the Central African Republic in Red
Rebels in northern Central African Republic in June 2007.
Refugees of the fighting in the Central African Republic, 19 January 2014
French soldier in position in Bangui.

[[File:Chadian Eland Mk7.jpg|left|260px|Eland|thumb Central African Republic conflict (2013–2014)

The Central African Republic conflict (2013–2014) was a major internal conflict that erupted in the Central African Republic (CAR) following the seizure of power by the Séléka rebel coalition. This period of conflict was marked by widespread violence, human rights abuses, and a humanitarian crisis that affected millions of people in the country.

Background[edit | edit source]

The conflict has its roots in longstanding ethnic and religious tensions, political instability, and economic disparities within the CAR. The country has experienced multiple coups and periods of unrest since gaining independence from France in 1960. The immediate precursor to the 2013–2014 conflict was the rise of the Séléka coalition, a group of mostly Muslim rebels who launched a series of attacks in late 2012, accusing the government of failing to abide by peace agreements.

The Conflict[edit | edit source]

In March 2013, Séléka forces captured the capital, Bangui, and declared their leader, Michel Djotodia, as the new president. This marked the first time a Muslim had taken control of the predominantly Christian country, leading to a significant escalation in sectarian violence. The Séléka regime was accused of committing widespread atrocities, including looting, rape, and murder, which predominantly targeted the Christian population.

In response, Christian militias known as "anti-Balaka" emerged, initially formed for self-defense. However, these groups soon began carrying out retaliatory attacks against Muslim civilians, further deepening the cycle of violence. The conflict quickly spiraled into a full-blown sectarian crisis, with thousands killed and many more displaced.

International Response[edit | edit source]

The international community responded with alarm to the escalating crisis. In July 2013, the African Union launched the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), which was later supplemented by French forces under Operation Sangaris, authorized by the United Nations Security Council. Despite these efforts, the violence and instability persisted.

Humanitarian Crisis[edit | edit source]

The conflict triggered a severe humanitarian crisis, with nearly a quarter of the country's population displaced. Many fled to neighboring countries, while others were internally displaced within the CAR. The violence severely disrupted agriculture, healthcare, and education, exacerbating the already dire economic situation and leading to widespread food insecurity and outbreaks of disease.

Resolution and Aftermath[edit | edit source]

In January 2014, under intense international pressure, Michel Djotodia resigned, and a transitional government was established. Despite these political changes, violence and instability continued in many parts of the country. The conflict left deep scars on the social fabric of the CAR, with trust between communities severely eroded.

The Central African Republic conflict (2013–2014) is a stark reminder of the fragility of state institutions and the devastating impact of sectarian violence. It underscores the importance of international intervention in preventing mass atrocities and the need for sustained efforts to rebuild peace and stability in post-conflict societies.

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD