Potential Hot Spots: June 12, 2001


Reports indicate that the Yakoma tribe in the southern CAR fears attacks by the CAR armed forces (FACA). Suspected CAR coup leader General Andre Kolingba is a Yakoma. The failed coup was launched on May 28. Most of the fighting was over by June 8. One western news organization said several Yakoma were killed in a reprisal attack in Bangui on June 11. Though the CAR government denies it is pursuing the Yakomas, one senior government official described the coup as ethnically based. In central Africa that means tribally-based. One Bangui resident was quoted on how to identify a Yakoma. "You recognize Yakomas by their birthplace or their names, which start with K, Y or G," the informant told an AFP reporter. The Yakomas constitute about 20 percent of the CARs population (some sources say 25 percent). Until mid-2000, however, the Yakomas (and related clans) made up around 40 percent of the CARs 3,000 troop regular army (FACA). In 2000, the defense ministry restructured the FACA to redress the ethnic imbalance. This caused a great deal of consternation among the Yakoma. The government military restructuring was perceived as an anti-Kolingba move and a rebuke of the Yakomas.


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