- Despite being turned into a phantom state by violence and corruption, the International Crisis Group believed that the new EU and UN forces could the emerge the Central African Republic (CAR) from its enduring crisis. The new forces aim to contain any spill-over from the Darfur crisis.
The group's latest report "Central African Republic: Anatomy of a Phantom State," examines the country's humanitarian and institutional crisis and outlines how the recently approved EU and UN forces [EUFOR and MINURCAT] could help the failing nation get on its feet.
CAR is a land of 4.2 million inhabitants but it lacks any meaningful institutions and is wracked by insurrections and corruption. The deployment of the EU peacekeepers to the coutnry's troubled North-Eastern region is expected to aid the much-needed reform process.
“A succession of mutinies and rebellions has produced a permanent crisis”, said Daniela Kroslak, Crisis Group’s Africa Research Director. “Right now, foreign troops mostly contain the violence in the capital, but the north is desperate and destitute."
It was only in 1993 that the CAR government gained a measure of legitimacy through free and fair elections. The country has since then plunged into a civil war, resulting to the government's lost of control of the security situation.
But the Crisis Group said only the CAR leaders prosper in the country's insecurity because "repression ensures their impunity."
It cited the case of François Bozizé who was brought to power in 2003 by France and Chad but has provoked unending rebellion with disastrous humanitarian consequences.
"Since the summer of 2005 the army, and particularly the Presidential Guard, have committed widespread acts of brutality – at least 100,000 people have fled to forest hideouts, and hundreds of civilians have been executed," the group said.
France has been blamed for its continual past interference in CAR since independence, but its will and means to act is deeply welcome.
The group said EUFOR could make an important contribution if it carries forward a reform of the CAR military and is coordinated with a comprehensive strategy to take the country out of its current political, economic and security quagmire.
“This might be the last chance for the CAR to break out of its phantom status before any pretence of its independence and sovereignty disappears in the vicious circle of state failure, violence and growing poverty in which it has been trapped”, says François Grignon, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director.
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