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Sectarian Conflict in the Central African Republic

Years: 2012-2022
Battle deaths: 2,384 [1]
Non-state conflict, battle-deaths: 3,504 [3]
Onesided violence: 6,643 [2]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]
Central African Republic, Chad

Published: 2014-08-13 01:11:34 | Updated: 2024-04-01 22:36:26

The current civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) can be traced back to François Bozizés overthrow of the elected government in 2003. Bozizé immediately faced armed opposition from a number of militias such as ARPD, UFDR, GAPLC, MLCJ, FDC, URF, FDPC and CPJP. From 2007 until 2012 a number of peace agreements was signed to resolve the conflicts, the most important being the Global Peace Accord, which was signed in Libreville, Gabon on 21 June 2008.

In August 2012, however, a faction of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) that refused to sign a peace agreement formed an alliance with the Patriotic Convention for Saving the Country (CPSK) that would later be more commonly know as the Séléka, which means "Coalition" in Sango, one of the CAR's two national languages. It was later joined by the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR). In December 2012 Séléka started an offensive against the government and quickly advanced towards the capital, Bangui.

On 27 December, Bozizé asked the international community for assistance, specifically France and the United States but received very little help. General Jean-Felix Akaga, commander of the Economic Community of Central African States' (ECCAS) Multinational Force of Central Africa, said the capital was "fully secured" by the troops from its MICOPAX peacekeeping mission. Government soldiers launched a counterattack against rebel forces in Bambari on 28 December, but could not stop the advancement.

On 30 December, President Bozizé and the Séléka agreed to begin peace talks due to take place in Libreville on January 8 2013, where a ceasefire agreement was signed on January 11. The ceasefire was broken in the end of January and the rebels resumed their offensive on March 22 and the day after they entered Bangui. On March 24 Bozizé fled to the DRC. The next day the Séléka leader Michel Djotodia declared himself president. His legitimacy was not recognized by other African leaders.

On 13 September 2013, Djotodia formally disbanded Séléka, which he had lost effective control of once the coalition had taken power. This had little actual effect in stopping abuses against the civilian population by the militia soldiers who were now referred to as Ex-seleka. Self-defense militias called Anti-balaka previously formed to fight crime on a local level, had organized into militias against abuses by Seleka soldiers. On 5 December 2013, called "A Day That Will Define Central African Republic", the Anti-balaka militias coordinated an attack on Bangui against its Muslim population, killing around 1,000 civilians, in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Djotodia.

In an effort to stop the violence the French and the African Union authorized peacekeeping missions in the country and Djotodia resigned. On 20 January 2014, Catherine Samba-Panza, the mayor of Bangui, was elected as the interim president. None of this could stop the violence between Ex-Seleka and Anti-balaka and attacks against civilians to continue. Intercommunal violence also escalated along sectarian lines between christians and muslims in 2014.

Another ceasefire agreement was signed on 24 July 2014 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo between the ex-seleka and anti-balaka but did not stop the violence. Instead the country went throught a de facto partition of the country between Ex-Seleka militias in the north and east and Anti-balaka militias in the south and west. With this partition hostilities between both sides decreased but sporadic fighting continued.

Since 2014, there is little government control outside of the capital, Bangui. Much of the country is controlled by Ex-Seleka factions and newly forged militias such as the UPC and FPRC of which the latter has demanded independence for the predominantly Muslim north.


Wikipedia: Central African Republic War, Seleka


Data Sources

[1] Battle deaths: UCDP23.1 (1989-2022) #416
Low: 2,191 High: 2,669

[2] UCDP One-sided Violence Dataset v. 1.4-2012, 1989-201123.1 including actors: anti-Balaka / Government of Central African Republic / FPRC / UPC / FDPC / 3R / Anti-Balaka - Mokom / FPRC, MPC / Anti-Balaka - Mokom, FPRC, MPC, RPRC / FPRC, MPC, Self-Defense Mujahidin (CAR)
Low: 5,780 High: 7,699

[3] UCDP Non-State Conflict Dataset UCDP Non-State Conflict Dataset v. 2.5-2014, 1989-2013 (link)23.1 including dyads: / anti-Balaka vs FPRC / Christians (CAR) vs Muslims (CAR) / anti-Balaka vs UPC / Anti-Balaka - Mokom, FPRC, MPC, RPRC vs UPC / anti-Balaka vs Peuhl militia (Zemio) / anti-Balaka, FPRC-AK vs FPRC / 3R vs anti-Balaka / anti-Balaka vs MPC / FPRC vs UPC / FPRC vs MLCJ / FPRC vs MLCJ, RPRC / FPRC vs MLCJ, PRNC, RPRC
Low: 3,388 High: 4,070

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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