Items About Areas That
Could Break Out Into War
December 16, 2008: Representatives of
most political or armed groups in the country have been meeting in the capital
since December 8th, for two weeks to negotiations to try and work out a peace
deal. So far, so good, and there is some optimism that some kind of useful deal
will be agreed to by the end of the negotiations on the 20th. But no final and
complete deal is expected. There are simply too many groups with too many
"Spillover warfare" from
Sudan and Chad continues to plague the Central African Republic (CAR). The government claims that the Popular Army
for the Restoration of the Republic and Democracy (APRD), which has bases in
the country's northern areas near Chad, intends to topple President Francois
Bozize, and is responsible for many attacks on towns and villages along the
Chad-CAR border. The APRD, which had
agreed to a ceasefire deal in June 2008, denied the accusation. The APRD and
the government have been at odds over "the amnesty agreement" that
was supposed to solidify the ceasefire and become the global peace accord"
(yes, that's the name the government used to describe the initial deal). The
ceasefire was supposed to give the CAR rebels political and criminal amnesty--
of some type. Negotiations on the details broke down in August 2008.
The CAR-Chad-Sudan border region is
anarchic, and many different rebel organizations use it as a "transit
zone" for moving supplies and personnel. The region is definitely an area of "overlapping warfare" and
uncontrolled crime. Civilians in the area have said for at least the last two
years that bandit groups are their biggest threat-- the CAR government doesn't
have the police forces or military forces to bring the thieves to heel, much
less the well-financed rebels. CAR military also attacks civilians.
Another rebel group, led by a supporter
of former president Ange-Felix Patasse, is also challenging the Bozize regime.
The Democratic Front for the Central African People (FDPC) has forces operating
in the northern CAR. The Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) also
operates in the northern area. The truth is, all three rebel groups have their
own agendas. At the moment they are big threats to poor tribal people in
northern Chad, but aren't in position to topple the government.
Several times a week there are gun
battles and skirmishes between these various armed groups.
November 11, 2008: Rebels operating
along the Chad-CAR border near the town of Sido ambushed a military patrol and
killed at least 14 CAR soldiers. The Office of the United Nations in the CAR
(BONUCA) condemned the attack and urged the government and rebel groups to
commit themselves to implementing the June 2008 ceasefire agreement.