News / Africa

Analysts Question if CAR Rebel Alliance Can Hold

Anne Look
Rebels have seized control of one third of the Central African Republic during the past month and reportedly are headed to Libreville for talks with the government.  The Seleka rebel coalition is the country's greatest threat to stability since the president seized power in a 2003 military coup d'etat.

Factions of three main rebel groups in the northern part of the country have again taken up arms against the government, threatening Bangui.  Rebels took two towns in the central part of the country without a fight only days before peace talks set to begin in Gabon's capital, Libreville, on January 8.

The rebel coalition is called, Seleka, which means "alliance" in the local Sango language.  But analysts in Bangui say the alliance is tenuous.  And it is unclear who is part of the coalition.

Abdoulaye Hissein is President of the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace rebel movement in the northeast.  He denies claims that his group has joined Seleka.

x
Hissein says Seleka spokesmen and ground commanders can not agree on the facts.  He says that as someone who once fought the government, he feels the only option left is dialogue.

Seleka spokesmen have made conflicting statements to the media, including on whether they will attend the peace talks.


This is the third major rebellion in the north since mid-2005, following elections that transformed Francois Bozize from coup leader to president.

Bozize's government has signed several peace agreements with rebel groups, including a summary agreement called the Global Peace Accords in 2008.  Seleka says the government has failed to live up to promises it made, notably to disband and pay rebel fighters, and reintegrate them into society.

Hardliners among the rebels demand that President Bozize step down, something the government says is out of the question.

Former government communications minister, Cyriaque Gonda, was a lead government peace negotiator in 2008 -- a duty, he says, he will again perform this month.  Gonda says the rebels have found a common cause for now, but that it is hard to believe that hostilities among rebel leaders during 2008 have ended.

"I remember that some of them could not accept to sit together.  Today, it's just a question of time.  They have a specific objective and I know that at the bottom of the line, as soon as they get to the objective, which is to absolutely put down all institutions, then the division will come and this is where we are going to have a mess in this country," he said.

Gonda concedes that the government has fallen short on disarmament.  He blamed a lack of international funding as well disagreements and leadership shuffles among the rebels.

The International Crisis Group said in 2010 that rebel leaders were focused on personal gain, like securing lucrative government jobs and high ranking posts in the army, undermining the peace process.  There are no reliable estimates of Seleka's strength.

The head of the multinational African force deployed at Damara, some 75 kilometers outside the capital, General Jean Felix Akaga, says it impossible to know the number of rebel forces.

Akaga says he would be surprised if the rebels themselves knew how many fighters they have.

Analysts say the rebels' quick offensive -- taking a third of the country in about three weeks -- is not so much a testimony to their military prowess as it is to the weakness of the national army and its poor presence in much of the now-captured territory.

The government says the rebels have foreign support and foreign fighters, namely from neighboring Chad and Sudan.  That claim has not been independently confirmed.

The origins of the three main rebel groups associated with Seleka can, in part, be traced to President Bozize.

The Union of Democratic Forces for Unity was formed in the northeast in 2006 by disgruntled fighters who helped Mr. Bozize overthrow President Ange-Felix Patasse.  Pro-Patasse military officers formed rebel groups in opposition to Mr. Bozize that year, including another Seleka affiliate -- the Democratic Front for the Central African People.

Among their grievances, rebels have cited underdevelopment in the north and their marginalization in society. 

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More