CAR is one of the world’s most fragile states. While security conditions have never been optimal, they significantly deteriorated in March 2013, when a loosely-organized coalition of armed groups known as Seleka, formed by members of the Muslim community from northeastern CAR, overthrew then-President Francoise Bozize. Following Bozize’s ouster, Seleka carried out killings and other abuses against the majority Christian population. In retaliation, Christian-led militias known as Anti-Balaka (anti-machete) rose up throughout the country, attacking Muslim communities and causing a mass exodus of Muslim civilians into neighboring countries. At the height of violence in early 2014, nearly one million people were displaced, over half of whom were children. At the time, UN officials warned that the situation could devolve into genocide.
“We’re giving peacekeepers broad and increasingly demanding responsibilities in increasingly inhospitable domains… We’re asking them to protect civilians from atrocities, as in the Central African Republic.” – Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, March 2015
A ceasefire between Seleka and Anti-Balaka forces was reached in July 2014, but did not bring an end to the crisis. A constitutional referendum and elections were postponed on several occasions due to security concerns. In February 2016, CAR ended its two-year political transition with the adoption of a new constitution, and the successful holding of presidential and legislative elections.
While the year began on a positive note with the successful holding of elections, the security situation remains quite fragile, and violence broke out in Bangui and several rural communities in late June and July of 2016. In response to these events, the Security Council unanimously voted to extend the MINUSCA mandate until November 15, 2017.