AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
13 Jan 2021
4:19 pm

Timeline: Rebel offensive against Central African Republic election

AFP

The troubled former French colony has been riven by conflict since 2013, and two-thirds of its territory is controlled by militia groups. 

In September 2014, UN peacekeepers went in to Central African Republic to take over from the African Union's MISCA force. AFP/File/MARCO LONGARI

Two attacks by rebel forces near the Central African Republic capital Bangui are the latest in a series of clashes since a contested presidential election on December 27 was threatened by an alleged attempted coup.

The troubled former French colony has been riven by conflict since 2013, and two-thirds of its territory is controlled by militia groups.

Here are recent developments:

Rebel alliance

On December 3, former president Francois Bozize, who slipped into the country from exile in Uganda in 2019, is barred from standing in the elections because of an arrest warrant over torture and murder.

On December 18 rebel forces attack key routes into Bangui.

The next day six rebel groups announce they are forming an alliance – the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).

The government accuses Bozize of attempting a coup, a charge he denies.

The UN deploys peacekeepers to stop what it calls “a deliberate attempt to disrupt” the vote.

Key city

Five days before the vote, the rebel coalition seizes Bambari, the country’s fourth-largest city.

UN peacekeepers take it back the next day.

Under bilateral security pacts, Russia and Rwanda deploy hundreds of troops or paramilitaries in support of President Faustin Archange Touadera, who is running for a second term.

France, Russia, the US, the EU, the Pope and the World Bank urge Bozize and the rebel groups to lay down their arms.

Contested election

The election goes ahead on December 27 and Touadera is re-elected with 53.92 percent of the vote, though one in two voters are unable to cast their ballots because of security fears.

The opposition calls for the election to be annulled.

Civilian exodus

In early January rebel fighters capture the southern city of Bangassou, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Prosecutors say Bozize is being investigated for plotting a coup.

In the following days the rebels launch several sporadic attacks.

More than 30,000 people have fled the country due to the violence surrounding the elections, the UN says, while tens of thousands more have been internally displaced.

Attacks near capital

On Wednesday rebels launch twin attacks on the outskirts of the capital — the first time they have struck so close to the city since the start of their offensive.

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