For those of us who know nothing about the Central African Republic (CAR), which I would imagine shamefully is most people – myself included – a recent rebellion appears to have sprung up out of nowhere. The rebels took up their weapons not even a month ago on the 10th December 2012, and since have captured most of the north of the country, in some cases without firing a shot. They are within reach of the capital Bangui, some reports saying their positions are less than 100 miles away.The background of the rebellion is complex and I know little of it. It seems to be after a peace deal signed in 2007 after another rebellion – the CAR has faced endless coups and rebellions since gaining independence from France in 1960 – which the rebels claim has not been followed correctly. The rebels’ aims are to depose President Francois Bozizé, who has ruled since 2003. They claim to have no interest in entering government themselves, rather they want to kickstart democratic processes.
Bozizé first appealed for international aid, but his cries have gone mostly unheard. There are around 200 French soldiers in the CAR in a logistical role, helping to train the local army, but President Francois Hollande of France has stated they will not get involved in the conflict. The CAR’s neighbours also seem reluctant to intervene. Desperate, Bozizé took the sensible move of offering to let the rebels in to a unity government. The rebels rejected this offer however, stating that they do not trust his words.
The Central African Republic looks to be on the brink of a crisis.