Central African Republic

Central African Republic

Central African Republic The Central African Republic (CAR) achieved independence from France in 1960, seceding peacefully from the French colonial empire. Before independence the territories making up present-day CAR formed part of French Equatorial Africa, under the name Ubangi-Shari.

Initial colonial rule by the French was exploitative, with concessionary companies extracting and profiteering from CAR's natural resources. The final 20 years of colonial rule however saw some development and modernisation, with the creation of infrastructure and the development of more modern agricultural practices. CAR has a heterogeneous population, with the Baya, Banda, Mandjia and Sara groups being the largest. This multi-ethnicity was to prove to be highly volatile for political stability in the years that followed on independence.

Despite French efforts to create a stable state CAR was transformed in 1962, two years after independence, into a one-party state under the authoritarian control of David Dacko. Severe political instability followed, with military coups and harsh dictatorial rule characterising the better parts of the 1960s to late 1980s. A democratic opening took place in the early 1990s, with an elected government taking power. The government, however, failed to appease the interests of CAR's different ethnic groups, leading to an attempted military coup and an intrastate armed conflict in 2001. The government, assisted by Libya and rebels from the Democratic Republic of Congo, resisted this coup and attempted to purge the army's leadership of disloyal elements.

The subsequent sacking of high-ranking officer Francois Bozizé led him and his followers to attempt to seize power in 2002, the following year Bozizé defeated the government and seized power. Bozizé initiated a process of national reconciliation, inviting different segments of society to deliberate on a new course and constitution for the country. In elections that followed in 2005 Bozizé stood victorious with the elections being recognised internationally as free and fair.

Bozizé was however soon challenged by new rebels who claimed that Bozizé continued, like other leaders before him, to heap benefits on his own ethnic group to the detriment of others. Different groups continued to challenge his rule until March 2013 when he was ousted by the Seleka alliance. Sectarian violence followed the change in government as militias supporting Bozizé and militias from the former Seleka group clashed and killed civilians. I. an effort to quell the violence the new President Djotodia was forced to resign in January 2014

Since 1946 the Central African Republic has experienced the intrastate, nonstate and one-sided categories of UCDP organised violence.