Potential Hot Spots: March 4, 2005

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The security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is deteriorating. Conditions in the countryside as going from bad to worse. CAR refugees who fled to Chad in March 2003, during and after the coup led by General Francois Bozize are now slowly returning and old civil and tribal frictions are reviving. The government has not been able to police the fighting. 

The security challenges in the countryside come as a the presidential election campaigns are gearing up. The campaigns officially began February 26. On February 27 Bozize's rival former military leader Andre Kolingba flew into Bangui (the CAR's capital). Kolingba had been living in exile in France.

Political violence seems very likely. The usual pattern is  the candidates who hire bandits and armed groups to intimidate each other. This was the sort of thing that brought about long term violence in neighboring Congo. We've seen what armed groups (militias) do in the neighboring DRC. Poor security in the hinterland and political gang fighting  could lead to civil war no matter how the election plays out.

 

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