JooMix

Central Africa (13)

Written by  THE INDEPENDENT

Adapted from The INDEPENDENT

France is to send 1,000 soldiers to the Central African Republic to try to contain a conflict which threatens to explode into a vicious Muslim-Christan civil war.

The deployment – the second French intervention in Africa this year – is likely to win UN Security Council approval in the next few days. The French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves le Drian, spoke of a “short mission to allow calm and stability to return” after the overthrow of the President eight months ago.

“The Central African Republic is in a state of collapse and we cannot allow a country to fall apart like that, with the risk of violence, massacres and humanitarian chaos, ” Mr Le Drian said.

Both sides have accused each other of atrocities since a Muslim rebel alliance overthrew a Christian president in March. There have been reports of massacres, rape and the conscription of child soldiers by the rebel forces.

Over a million people, in a country of 4.4 million, are facing famine. An estimated 400,000 people have been forced from their homes and 68,000 have fled to neighbouring countries.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the Security Council on Monday that the CAR was becoming a “breeding ground for extremists and armed groups” and could descend into a full-scale civil war between Muslim and Christian communities. UN officials have warned of the “potential for another Rwanda”.

Mr Eliasson suggested that the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force of up to 9,000 troops might now be inevitable. The new French force will join the 400 French soldiers on the ground in a six-month “bridging operation” before a large peacekeeping operation by the African Union begins next month.

A draft UN Security Council resolution is expected to call on the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to prepare plans for a possible UN intervention within three months.

French interventions in Africa have a tendency to last longer than initially announced, such as that in Mali in January. Mr Le Drian rejected any comparisons between the operations. “In Mali there was an attack by jihadists who wanted to transform Mali into a terrorist state,” he said. “This is a collapse of a country with a potential for religious conflict.  France has international responsibilities.”

The CAR is one the poorest countries in the world There have long been religious and economic tensions between Muslims, who are traditionally livestock farmers, and broadly wealthier Christians, who are mostly crop-growers.

In March, President François Bozizé was overthrown by a coalition of two Muslim groups called “Seleka” (alliance). Mr Bozizé’s supporters called for continuing resistance against the rebels whom they accused of being  mostly foreign jihadists.

Michel Djotodia, the rebel leader, who proclaimed himself to be the country’s first ever Muslim President, has promised to preserve the country’s secular traditions. His Seleka forces have been accused, however, of pillaging churches and massacring Christian communities. Some diplomatic sources estimate that 80 per cent of the Seleka fighters come from Central Africa’s northern neighbours, Sudan and Chad.

An African Union intervention force, over 3,000 strong, is supposed to begin full-scale operations next month. Senior UN officials have dismissed the force as “under-equipped and under-financed”. Instead of protecting the civilian population, they say, the soldiers have been selling their services to private companies.

Central African Republic in numbers

1 million people are facing famine

400,000 people have fled their homes

68,000 have fled to neighbouring countrie

Written by  RTL Press

Le projet français de résolution sur la crise en Centrafrique devrait être adopté par l'ONU jeudi 5 décembre.

Les 15 pays membres du Conseil de sécurité sont parvenus mardi 3 décembre au soir à un consensus sur un projet français de résolution sur la crise en République centrafricaine, qui devrait être adopté à l'unanimité jeudi matin, selon des diplomates à l'ONU. La résolution donne mandat à la force panafricaine présente en RCA (Misca) pour se déployer "pour une période de douze mois", avec une clause de révision au bout de six mois, afin de "protéger les civils et de rétablir l'ordre et la sécurité par les moyens appropriés".
Transformation éventuelle en opération de maintien de la paix

Elle autorise aussi les forces françaises en RCA à "prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour soutenir la Misca dans l'exercice de son mandat". Le texte est placé sous le chapitre 7 de la Charte de l'ONU qui prévoit le recours à la force. La résolution demande aussi au secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon de présenter dans les trois mois un rapport donnant des recommandations pour "une transformation éventuelle de la Misca en opération de maintien de la paix de l'ONU" si les conditions politiques et de sécurité dans le pays le permettent.

Cette transformation ne sera pas automatique, a tenu à souligner mardi devant la presse l'ambassadeur français Gérard Araud. "A ce stade il est difficile de savoir si la force africaine avec le soutien des forces françaises sera capable de faire le travail", a-t-il expliqué. "Si la force africaine fait le travail, il n'y aura pas besoin d'une force de maintien de la paix". Selon un récent rapport de l'ONU, une telle force devra compter de 6.000 à 9.000 hommes pour être efficace.

La résolution prévoit aussi la création d'une commission d'enquête sur les droits de l'homme, un embargo sur les armes à destination de la RCA et la menace de sanctions ciblées contre les responsables d'exactions et ceux qui tenteraient de bloquer la transition politique en RCA.
Montée en puissance de la Misca

Selon des diplomates, les Etats-Unis étaient réticents à la mise en place rapide d'une opération de maintien de la paix. Ils refusaient par ailleurs une solution mixte du type de l'Amisom (mission de l'Union africaine en Somalie, composée d'Africains mais financée par l'ONU et l'Union européenne).

Aux termes de la résolution, la montée en puissance de la Misca, qui doit atteindre 3.600 hommes à effectif plein mais n'en compte pour l'instant que 2.500, sera financée par un fonds fiduciaire alimenté par des contributions volontaires. Selon Araud, le contingent français en Centrafrique sera chargé non seulement de rétablir l'ordre dans la capitale Bangui, mais aussi de "sécuriser les axes routiers pour permettre un accès humanitaire".

La France a commencé à renforcer ses effectifs en Centrafrique, où elle devrait lancer dans les prochains jours une opération pour rétablir l'ordre dans un pays en proie au chaos. Selon le ministère français de la Défense, plus de 600 hommes se trouvent déjà à Bangui.

Written by  Emmanuel Leroueil

Publie par WILLIAM A TWAYIGIZE

Réélu en fin janvier 2011 à la présidence de la République Centrafricaine, François Bozizé fait face à de nombreux défis. La population centrafricaine est parmi les plus pauvres d’Afrique, tandis que l’Etat centrafricain est l’un des plus faibles du continent. La tâche se révélant immense, le président Bozizé comme l’observateur extérieur peuvent se demander : par où commencer ? Par la bonne gestion des ressources en diamants du pays, sans doute.
La Centrafrique peut-elle éviter la malédiction du diamant et faire de cette ressource le levier central de son développement économique et social ?

La Malédiction du Diamant

Il y a malédiction du diamant à double titre. La première relève d’un phénomène universel : les pays bien dotés en ressources naturelles connaissent parfois un taux de croissance inférieur aux autres. Bénéficiant d’une rente de situation grâce à certaines ressources, ces pays connaissent une compétitivité inférieure dans les autres secteurs économiques et se caractérisent par un sous-investissement éducatif et/ou une mauvaise gestion des richesses produites par le sous-sol. On parle de « syndrome hollandais » pour décrire les effets économiques et sociaux négatifs d’une rente économique basée sur des ressources naturelles. Cela est très souvent le cas par exemple des pays pétroliers d’Afrique ou du Moyen-Orient, notamment lorsque les cours du pétrole sont modérés.

Il y a enfin une malédiction du diamant propre à l’Afrique, celle des « diamants du sang ». L’expression renvoie à l’utilisation du diamant comme principale ressource dans le cadre d’économies de guerre et de rapines dans des conflits particulièrement meurtriers en Angola, au Libéria, en Sierra Leone et en République Démocratique du Congo, notamment durant les années 1990-2000.  Le diamant est au centre de spirales mafieuses qui voient des mouvements politiques rebelles et militarisés survivre indéfiniment en se passant du soutien des populations (cas de l’Unita en Angola) ; ou suscite l’appât du gain de bandes armés qui violentent les populations civiles pour exploiter les diamants de leur environnement naturel (cas des troupes de Charles Taylor en Sierra Leone). Enfin, comme dans le cas de la République Démocratique du Congo, les ressources en diamant, notamment dans les zones frontalières, constituent un sérieux mobile d’invasion de forces armées étrangères mieux organisées pour détourner à leur profit cette ressource (présence ougandaise et rwandaise).

L’Exploitation du Diamant en Centrafrique

L’exploitation du diamant y a débuté en 1927. Il s’agit essentiellement de gisements alluvionnaires situés dans le bassin de deux grands systèmes fluviaux du pays : autour des rivières Mambere et Lobaye au Sud-Ouest ; autour de la rivière Kotto dans l’Est. D’après les statistiques du Bureau d’évaluation et de contrôle de diamant et d’or (BECDOR), la Centrafrique a exporté 311 784 carats en 2009. A titre de comparaison, le premier exportateur de diamants africain (et deuxième exportateur mondial derrière la Russie), le Botswana, exporte en moyenne 32 millions de carats chaque année. La Centrafrique est donc un petit producteur de diamants[1], même si l’on considère que le pays exporte plus que ne le signale les chiffres officiels, du fait de la contrebande. Mais à l’échelle du pays, l’économie du diamant est très importante. Selon un rapport de l’International Crisis Group sur le sujet (De dangereuses petites pierres – les diamants en République Centrafricaine, décembre 2010), « l’extraction artisanale fournit un emploi à quelques 80 000 à 100 000 mineurs à travers le pays, des mineurs dont les revenus nourrissent au moins 600 000 personnes. Son impact économique et social n’est donc pas négligeable dans un pays qui compte 4,8 millions d’habitants. »

Les Racines du Mal

Comme le laisse à penser le rapport susmentionné de l’ICG, tout indique que la Centrafrique connaisse déjà la malédiction du diamant. Le pays a une longue histoire d’appropriation par l’élite au pouvoir de la rente du diamant. Jean Bedel Bokassa s’est rendu tristement célèbre en la matière. Son exploitation déraisonnée du secteur diamantifère a longtemps plombé la production de la RCA, avec un épuisement des gisements les plus facilement exploitables et l’absence d’exploration de nouveaux sites. Ange-Félix Patassé, ancien Premier ministre de Bokassa et élu président de la RCA en 1993, est également propriétaire d’une compagnie minière, la Colombe Mines, possédant plusieurs sites diamantifères.  Selon le rapport de la visite d’examen du Processus de Kimberley en République centrafricaine de juin 2003, son mandat a fourni l’occasion au président Patassé de considérablement étendre les activités de son entreprise. Par ailleurs, sa gestion se serait caractérisée par la distribution à sa discrétion d’exemptions au code minier à des propriétaires (70% des propriétaires étant exemptés du code minier !), rendant ledit code minier caduque et plongeant le secteur dans l’anarchie.

Par ailleurs, des groupes rebelles militarisés contrôlent désormais une partie importante des sites de production de diamant. L’Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement (UFDR), bien qu’ayant signé un accord de paix avec le gouvernement, poursuivrait l’extraction et la contrebande de diamants dans le Nord-Est du pays. De même pour la Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix (CPJP), qui contrôle l’Est du pays. Derrière ces organisations aux noms humanistes se cachent des activités de « parrainage » mafieux des extracteurs artisanaux de diamants dans les régions qu’ils contrôlent. On retrouve donc en RCA les symptômes de la malédiction du diamant.
La Réforme du Secteur Minier par Bozizé

Arrivé au pouvoir le 15 mars 2003, François Bozizé a très vite décidé de s’attaquer à la question du diamant. Le 14 avril de cette année, il annule tous les permis de prospection et d’extraction, y compris – et surtout – ceux de l’entreprise de son prédécesseur Patassé. L’assemblée nationale vote le 1er février 2004 un nouveau code minier avec la volonté de l’aligner sur les normes internationales en vigueur. Ce nouveau code se caractérise par ce que l’ICG considère dans son rapport comme un « régime fiscal et cadre légal rigide et inflexible qui sous-tend une organisation centralisé et opaque ». Quoi qu’il en soit, le résultat est que la plupart des compagnies minières internationales seraient parties suite à cette réforme, les exigences des autorités centrafricaines leur paraissant démesurées par rapport à l’intérêt de rester sur place. Il ne resterait plus qu’une seule compagnie diamantaire internationale présente en Centrafrique à l’heure actuelle. Le constat de l’International Crisis Group est le suivant : « Le niveau élevé de taxation incite par ailleurs la contrebande, que les autorités minières sont trop faibles pour arrêter. L’effet conjugué d’un Etat parasitaire, de la criminalité et de l’extrême pauvreté incite des factions rivales à entrer en rébellion tout en créant des conditions propices leur permettant de tirer profit du commerce de diamants dans les régions minières(…)Au ministère des Mines, la priorité donnée aux gains à court terme fait obstacle à l’élaboration et à la mise en oeuvre d’une stratégie de développement du secteur minier. La Direction générale des mines n’a ainsi pas de document de stratégie. Elle attend que la Banque mondiale lui fournisse des consultants pour l’aider à en rédiger un.

Written by  William A.Twayigize

BACKGROUND

The country of Central African Republic as its name suggests it is located in the heart of Africa. It is a landlocked country which borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the northeast, South Sudan in the east, the DR Congo and the Republic of Congo in south, and Cameroon in the west. CAR is one of the poorest countries in Africa with a population of 4.6 million. The country has been unstable for years. About 50% of its population are Christians, and 15% are Muslims whereas the rest practice the African Traditional Religion (ATR).  Since 2012 CAR experienced intense fighting between the then President Bozize’s forces and the SELEKA rebels who have since overthrown the government of Francois Bozize which has been followed by absolute anarchy where all institutions have been looted by gunmen. Both international community and local media estimate that more than 200, 00 people are internally displaced while another 70,000 have fled to neighboring countries (BBC Africa). UN and other organizations have said that if nothing is done, the country might descend into genocide.

Maybe people should ask themselves why we are talking without acting. As some people may still remember, 19 years ago the world just watched as the country of Rwanda descended into humanity catastrophe, which later became the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It all started the same way it is unfolding in CAR. Just two years after the Rwandan genocide, the country of DR Congo was engulfed by bloodbath that cost more than 6,000,000 lives of both Congolese and Rwandan people as the UN and western countries sat quietly and did nothing to halt the war. Looking at these two examples that took place in two countries which are not far away from CAR, one should not wonder why the same is repeating in CAR without any speedy intervention to stop the situation before it worsens (www.cnn.com). Concerns have been growing both in international community and the media world that the country of Centrafrique might become another Rwanda or its neighbor DR Congo.  What is different this time about the conflict in CAR is that the war is a religious conflict between Christians and Muslims. This started when President Francois Bozize was overthrown by the SELEKA rebellion in March.
REGIONAL SECTARIANISM AND RELIGIOUS CONFLICT

According to different reports from international media houses such as the BBC, the town of Bossangoa, the former President Francois Bozize comes from has been deserted by its residents for the fear of the Muslim rebels who are said to be attacking Christian villages. This conflict reminds me the Ivorian conflict that divided the country of Cote d’Ivoire into two where those thought to be mostly Muslims took over the north of the country and those thought to be mostly Christian stayed in the south of the country. The issue shifted from the country’s policy issues and political campaigns and rotated around religion each side blaming the other to be sympathizers of a religious sectarian. The same scenario is repeating itself in the Central African republic where people who have been living together over thousands of years now cannot see each other eye to eye leave alone fetching drinking water from the same rivers. What continues to shock the world and confuse those involved in peacebuilding in Africa and around the world is that previous wars whether religious, political, or conflict minerals that have ravaged Africa over several decades have not taught Africans any lesson to promote peace over war. There is a simple answer to this. Peacebuilders and international community that support peacebuilding activities in Africa have not spent more resources trying to address the root causes of conflicts in Africa, which is “poor management of Africa’s natural resources.”

Most conflicts in Africa have been based on Africa’s minerals with a disguise of either politics, religion, or sociopolitical. Therefore, conflict interventions designed and applied have always been focused on addressing the above three perceived issues. It is true that those elements come over and over in most of man’s conflicts, but they are not the main root causes of war and conflict in Africa. The root causes of conflicts in Africa have always been oil, diamond, natural gas, and coastal line in Angola, coltan, gold, copper, and rubber in DR Congo, oil in Sudan, diamond, gold, and oil in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and cocoa, oil, and coastal line in Cote d’Ivoire, needless mentioning a country like Somalia which has been ungovernable for over three decades. Only recently the western media have come clean and accepted that Somalis are sitting on a natural gas hidden underground both offshore and onshore. One can simply say that the country of Central African Republic is another victim of misdiagnosed conflict interventions in Africa and now the country is at the verge of descending into Abyss like Rwanda in 1994 as the world is watching. The multitude of Central African people have left their homes taking refuge in churches and mosques. People continue to fear their identity as it has been the case in most conflicts in Africa where one is either killed or jailed simply because he/she belongs to a certain region, religion, ethnicity, tribe, or has subscribed to a political ideology different those who are ruling. However, there is a bigger reason behind wars in Africa than what is expressed in millions of grant applications for peacebuilding in Africa.
NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONFLICT MINERALS

Though CAR has been unstable most of the time since its independence from France in 1960, because of several military coups and civil wars, today is experiencing an unprecedented conflict. Most of conflict in CAR have not been characterized as religious wars but now this small country, described as the heart of Africa is experiencing the worst religious tension ever. This new conflict has put into confrontation two brothers distinguished by faith. The Christian majority and Muslim minority always lived in harmony until March 2013 the time Michel Djotodia a former diplomat and civil servant formed Seleka, which defeated Bozize’s government and seized power in Bangui. His government continued to be accused of attacking certain communities based on their religious beliefs. This targeted violence has encouraged those who are non-Muslims to form the anti-balaka rebel group which is predominantly created by Mr. Bozize's sympathizers from his birthplace of Bossangoa in about 400km (250 miles) north of the capital Bangui. This new twist to add religion to CAR’s conflict is dangerous because it is a cover up to hide the real root of conflict, which is a competition over the control of natural resources in Central African Republic and the region in general.
Like in several African countries, the country of CAR has rich but mostly unexploited natural resources in the form of diamonds, gold, uranium, and other precious minerals. Diamonds has been the most important export of the CAR, which account over 55% of national export revenues. This wealth has attracted both local and international diamond smugglers who want to quick wealth at cheaper cost even if it means bribing government officials or sponsoring a rebel group to cause mayhem, kill, and drive millions of people away from their land. This cheaper diamond has built a Mafia with a strong collaboration in the government that connect them with some corrupt elements that help them access diamond easily. According to World Bank statistics, more than 50% of the diamonds produced each year leave the country clandestinely. The country of CAR also has petroleum deposits along the country's northern border with Chad which is estimated at 2 billion barrels of oil. The CAR’s uncut diamonds make up close to 60% of the CAR's export earnings. All these resources which on high demand on the international market are fuelling the conflict in Central African Republic. Each side of these Mafia wants to control these natural resources by being in power. Unfortunately, this people cannot achieve that through democratic process so that they go back to their people and ask for their vote. They prefer to recruit and arm innocent unemployed youth and children by instilling fear in them that the other side hates them based on this one or the other. In CAR, after decades of military coups now politicians, business people, mineral smugglers, and others with interests in the CAR’s natural resources are now using religion as a way to marshal up sympathizers to stand and fight for them portraying themselves as the messiahs of their communities. This kind of military propaganda is the basis of the formation of both SELEKA disguising under Islamic faith and ANTI-BALAKA, which is hiding itself behind Christian faith. One cannot deny categorically that there is a religious conflict but it is a political design fueled by the greed to access and control natural resources through fear. As it has been the case in the neighboring DR Congo where millions of innocent people have been killed by different rebel groups supported by both foreign governments and corrupt leadership and millions of minerals looted. The Congolese conflict minerals has been hiding under ethnic and tribal conflict whereas the conflict in CAR is now taking a religious twist to blind people that what is happening in CAR is Muslims against Christians or vice versa. People, especially Africans should understand that the war in Central Africa is purely a completion over natural resources to control diamond mining and new found petroleum wells.

The question always remains on our mind is to ask ourselves when Africans will stop killing each other and learn to effectively manage their natural resources to benefit their communities and the future generation. People in CAR whether Muslims or Christians should understand that CAR is bigger that Francois Bozize or Michel Djotodia and put peace above any individual interests to save their country so that it does not become another Rwanda, Somalia, or DR Congo.

Written by  From Jeune Afrique

Casques bleus accusés d’abus sexuels : 69 cas en 2015, principalement en Afrique

L'ONU a recensé l'an dernier 69 cas d'abus sexuels qui auraient été commis par ses Casques bleus, principalement en République centrafricaine et en République démocratique du Congo. Sur 21 pays mis en cause, 11 sont africains.

Par rapport à 2014, il s’agit d’« une nette augmentation » des cas d’abus sexuels signalés dans les rangs des Casques bleus. C’est en tout cas ce que souligne par le rapport annuel du secrétaire général de l’ONU Ban Ki-moon. Celui-ci rappelle que le nombre de cas recensés en 2013 était de 66, tandis qu’il était descendu à 52 cas en 2014. « La hausse du nombre des accusations est très inquiétante », souligne une copie du document obtenue par l’AFP. Le rapport recommande notamment de créer des cours martiales in situ pour juger les coupables et de prendre les empreintes génétiques de Casques bleus.

L’Afrique centrale la plus touchée

Des 69 cas d’accusations d’abus ou d’exploitation sexuels, 38 ont été enregistrés dans seulement deux des seize missions de maintien de la paix de l’ONU dans le monde : 22 en Centrafrique et 16 en RDC. Dans 19 cas au moins, les victimes étaient des mineurs. En tout, ce sont des soldats ou policiers de 21 pays qui sont mis en cause, avec en tête la RDC (7 cas), le Maroc et l’Afrique du Sud (4 cas). Suivent le Cameroun, le Congo-Brazzaville, le Rwanda et la Tanzanie (3 cas chacun). Bénin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Gabon sont concernés par 2 cas chacun.

C’est la première fois que l’ONU nomme ainsi tous les pays dont sont originaires les Casques bleus soupçonnés.

La réputation de ses soldats de la paix a été ternie depuis des mois par toute une série de scandales de viols et autres abus sexuels, notamment en Centrafrique où l’ONU a déployé 12 000 hommes en 2014.

Vivement critiquée pour son manque de réactivité, l’ONU a dû prendre des mesures: limoger le chef de la Minusca sa mission en Centrafrique, rapatrier des contingents entiers de RCA, faire pression sur les pays contributeurs de troupes pour qu’ils enquêtent et sanctionnent leurs hommes.

Des sanctions timides

C’est à ces pays en effet qu’il incombe de prendre des sanctions pénales, ce qu’ils font jusqu’ici avec réticence. Au 31 janvier 2016, les enquêtes sur 17 cas seulement détectés en 2015 étaient terminées, donnant lieu à des « mesures intérimaires », autrement dit des retraits de solde ou des rapatriements.

Mais en ce qui concerne les soldats reconnus coupables de faits commis en 2015 et auparavant, l’ONU n’a reçu l’année dernière que dix réponses des autorités nationales sur les sanctions prises. Et celles-ci semblent faibles : six mois de prison « pour activités sexuelles avec mineur en échange d’argent », 60 jours d’incarcération « pour l’exploitation sexuelle d’une femme », « sanctions administratives » ou mise à la retraite.

Written by  By BBC

A chronology of key events:

1880s - France annexes the area.

Central African Republic's President Jean-Bedel BokassaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionJean-Bedel Bokassa had the reputation of one of Africa's most brutal post-independence leaders

1894 - France sets up a dependency in the area called Ubangi-Chari and partitions it among commercial concessionaires.

1910 - Ubangi-Chari becomes part of the Federation of French Equatorial Africa.

1920-30 - Indigenous Africans stage violent protests against abuses by concessionaires.

1946 - The territory is given its own assembly and representation in the French parliament; Barthelemy Boganda, founder of the pro-independence Social Evolution Movement of Black Africa (MESAN), becomes the first Central African to be elected to the French parliament.

1957 - MESAN wins control of the territorial assembly; Boganda becomes president of the Grand Council of French Equatorial Africa.
Independence

Central African Republic's former president David DackoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionDavid Dacko was the country's first president

1958 - The territory achieves self-government within French Equatorial Africa with Boganda as prime minister.

1959 - Boganda dies.

1960 - The Central African Republic becomes independent with David Dacko, nephew of Boganda, as president.

1962 - Dacko turns the Central African Republic into a one-party state with MESAN as the sole party.

1964 - Dacko confirmed as president in elections in which he is the sole candidate.
The Bokassa era

1965 - Dacko ousted by the army commander, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, as the country faces bankruptcy and a threatened nationwide strike.

1972 - Bokassa declares himself president for life.

1976 - Bokassa proclaims himself emperor and renames the country the "Central African Empire".

1979 - Bokassa ousted in a coup led by David Dacko and backed by French troops after widespread protests in which many school children were arrested and massacred while in detention.

1981 - Dacko deposed in a coup led by the army commander, Andre Kolingba.

1984 - Amnesty for all political party leaders declared.

1986 - Bokassa returns to the CAR from exile in France.

1988 - Bokassa sentenced to death for murder and embezzlement, but has his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
Ban on parties lifted

1991 - Political parties permitted to form.
Former leader of Central African Republic 'Emperor Bokassa'Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Former emperor Bokassa was found guilty of murder

BBC World Service - Witness, Bokassa's Downfall

1992 October - Multiparty presidential and parliamentary elections held in which Kolingba came in last place, but are annulled by the supreme court on the ground of widespread irregularities.

1993 - Ange-Felix Patasse beats Kolingba and Dacko in elections to become president, ending 12 years of military rule. Kolingba releases several thousand political prisoners, including Bokassa, before standing down as president.

1996 May - Soldiers stage a mutiny in the capital, Bangui, over unpaid wages.

1997 November - Soldiers stage more mutinies.

1997 - France begins withdrawing its forces from the republic; African peacekeepers replace French troops.

1999 - Patasse re-elected; his nearest rival, former President Kolingba, wins 19% of the vote.

2000 December - Civil servants stage general strike over back-pay; rally organised by opposition groups who accuse President Patasse of mismanagement and corruption deteriorates into riots.
Coup bid

2001 May - At least 59 killed in an abortive coup attempt by former president Andre Kolingba. President Patasse suppresses the attempt with help of Libyan and Chadian troops and Congolese rebels.

Former President Ange-Felix PatasseImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionPresident Ange-Felix Patasse was ousted by rebels

2001 November - Clashes as troops try to arrest sacked army chief of staff General Francois Bozize, accused of involvement in May's coup attempt. Thousands flee fighting between government troops and Bozize's forces.

2002 February - Former Defence Minister Jean-Jacques Demafouth appears in a Bangui court to answer charges related to the coup attempt of May 2001.

2002 October - Libyan-backed forces help to subdue an attempt by forces loyal to dismissed army chief General Bozize to overthrow President Patasse.
Patasse ousted

2003 March - Rebel leader Francois Bozize seizes Bangui, declares himself president and dissolves parliament. President Ange-Felix Patasse is out of the country at the time. Within weeks a transitional government is set up.

2004 December - New constitution approved in referendum.

2005 May - Francois Bozize is named the winner of presidential elections after a run-off vote.

2005 August - Flooding in the capital, Bangui, leaves up to 20,000 people homeless.

2005 June onwards - Thousands flee lawlessness in north-west CAR for southern Chad. Aid bodies appeal for help to deal with the "forgotten emergency".

2006 June - UN says 33 people have been killed in a rebel attack on an army camp in the north.

French soldier in Central African RepublicImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionFrance has troops in Central African Republic to protect its interests

2006 August - Exiled Former President Ange-Felix Patasse is found guilty, in absentia, of fraud and sentenced to 20 years' hard labour.

2006 October - Rebels seize Birao, a town in the north-east. President Bozize cuts short an overseas visit.

2006 December - French fighter jets fire on rebel positions as part of support for government troops trying to regain control of areas in the northeast.

2007 February - The rebel People's Democratic Front, led by Abdoulaye Miskine, signs a peace accord with President Bozize in Libya and urges fighters to lay down their arms.

2007 May - The International Criminal Court says it is to probe war crimes allegedly committed in 2002 and 2003 following the failed coup against the Ange-Felix Patasse.

2007 September - UN Security Council authorises a peacekeeping force to protect civilians from violence spilling over from Darfur in neighbouring Sudan.

2008 January - Civil servants and teachers strike in protest over non-payment of salaries for several months.

Prime Minister Elie Dote and his cabinet resign a day before parliament was to debate a censure motion against him.

President Bozize appoints Faustin-Archange Touadera, an academic with no previous background in politics, to replace Mr Dote.

2008 February - Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebels raid CAR.
Peace process

2008 June - Two of three main rebel groups - the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR) and the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD) - sign peace agreement with government providing for disarmament and demobilisation of rebel fighters.

2008 September - Parliament adopts amnesty law seen as last remaining obstacle to successful conclusion of peace talks between rebels and the government.

2008 December - Government-rebel peace deal envisages formation of consensus government and elections in March 2010.

2009 January - National unity government unveiled; includes leaders of the two main rebel groups. Main opposition UVNF criticises the changes to the cabinet as insufficient.

2009 February - Ugandan LRA rebels cross into CAR.

2009 March - French troops reportedly deploy in Bangui after rebels infiltrate the capital.

2009 April - Clashes between government and rebels continue. UN Security Council agrees to creation of new UN peacebuilding office for CAR to address ongoing insecurity.

2009 July - New electoral commission established after parliament approves new election law.

2009 September - Ugandan army confirms that it is pursuing LRA rebels in CAR.
Ex-vice president on trial
Former vice-president Jean-Pierre BembaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Jean-Pierre Bemba denies committing crimes against humanity

Profile: Jean-Pierre Bemba

2009 August - UN report says more than a million people have been affected by civil unrest in CAR.

2009 October/November - Former President Ange-Felix Patasse returns from exile, hints that he may stand for the presidency in 2010.

2010 February - Rights groups, opposition and France call for prove into claims - denied by the authorities - that rebel leader Charles Massi was tortured to death in government custody.

President Bozize says elections to be held on 25 April; opposition rejects date, fearing vote will be rigged.

2010 April - Elections postponed. Parliament extends President Bozize's term until polls can be held.

2010 May - UN Security Council votes to withdraw a UN force from Chad and the Central African Republic, deployed to protect displaced Chadians and refugees from Sudan's Darfur.

2010 July - Rebels attack northern town of Birao.

2010 September - Voter registration begins for presidential, parliamentary elections due in January 2011.

2010 October - Four countries affected by LRA violence agree to form joint military force to pursue the rebels.

2010 November - Ex-DR Congo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba goes on trial at International Criminal Court accused of letting his troops rape and kill in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.

2010 December - 50th independence anniversary. Former self-styled Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa is officially rehabilitated.

2011 January - Presidential and parliamentary elections. Mr Bozize wins another term.
Rebels seize power
Seleka rebels patrol Bangui on 25 March 2013, a day after ousting President Francois BozizeImage copyrightAFP

Fighters of the Seleka rebel alliance swept into the capital Bangui in March 2013

Q&A: Central African Republic's rebellion

Profile: Michel Djotodia

2011 April - Former President Ange-Felix Patasse dies aged 74.

2011 December - The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warns that the Central country is in a state of chronic medical emergency because of epidemic diseases, conflict, an economic downturn and a poor health system.

2012 March - African Union deploys a military force to hunt down Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, believed to be in the Central African Republic.

2012 August - Last historic armed group - Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) - signs peace deal.
Bozize ousted

2012 November - New Seleka rebel coalition rapidly overruns north and centre of country.

2013 March - Seleka rebels overrun the capital and seize power. President Bozize flees. Rebel leader Michel Djotodia suspends constitution and dissolves parliament in a coup condemned internationally.

2013 August - Coup leader Michel Djotodia is sworn in as president.

UN Security Council warns CAR poses a risk to regional stability. UN chief Ban Ki-moon says CAR has suffered a "total breakdown of law and order".

2013 September - Djotodia dissolves Seleka coalition. He is criticsed for failing to control the fighters.

2013 October - UN Security Council approves the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force. It would support African Union troops already on the ground and French troops controlling the airport.

2013 November - US casts doubt on Central African Republic official reports that Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army rebel leader Joseph Kony is among LRA figures negotiating their surrender with the CAR authorities.
Religious conflict
Muslims flee to Cameroon

Muslims have been fleeing what has been described as ethnic cleansing

Convoy of terror in CAR

2013 December - With turmoil continuing in the country and rival Muslim and Christian fighters accused of killing hundreds of people, France steps up its deployment of troops to 1,600 in a bid to disarm the militias.

2014 January - Interim president Michel Djotodia resigns over criticism that he failed to stop sectarian violence. Catherine Samba-Panza takes over as interim leader.

2014 April - UN Security Council authorises a peacekeeping force of 12,000 troops.

2014 May - French and Estonian troops take charge of security at the airport in Bangui under a European Union mandate from previous French force.

2014 July - Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian "anti-balaka" vigilante forces agree to a tentative ceasefire at talks in Brazzaville.

2014 August - Muslim politician Mahamat Kamoun tasked with leading a transitional government.

2014 September - UN formally takes over and augments African Union peacekeeping mission, renamed Minusca. European Union's French mission remains in place.

2015 January - The CAR government rejects a ceasefire deal made in Kenya between two militia groups aimed at ending more than a year of clashes, saying it was not involved in the talks.

UN accuses Christian militia of ethnic cleansing.

EU-commissioned research reveals how Seleka fighters were illegally supplied with guns made in China and Iran.

2015 February - The UN says that surging violence in the Central African Republic has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes since the beginning of the year to escape killings, rape and pillaging by militias.

2015 May - Prosecutors in France open a judicial investigation into alleged child abuse by French soldiers.

2015 September - Communal clashes break out in Bangui after Muslim taxi-driver attacked.

2015 November - Pope visits, calls for peace between Muslims, Christians.

2015 December - New constitution approved in referendum. Parliamentary and presidential elections pass off peacefully, but constitutional court annuls results of parliamentary poll, citing irregularities.

2016 February - Preparations for rerun of parliamentary polls, second round of presidential election.

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ANREMI seeks to forge strategic partnerships with global organizations and individuals with a similar vision and philosophy of promoting grass-root based management of natural resources for community development. For more information kindly contact: willadam@anremi.org