Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director, talks with CCTV Africa about the on-going violence in the C.A.R.
Showing posts tagged as "thierry vircoulon"
Showing posts tagged thierry vircoulon
Vircoulon: “ECCAS and Chad played a key role (in CAR)” | Stefanie Duckstein
The Central African Republic has been wracked by violence between Seleka Muslim and anti-balaka Christian militias. Hundreds have been killed. Almost a quarter of the country’s population of four and a half million have been displaced. Deutsche Welle discussed the current state and future of the conflict with Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group’s Project Director for Central Africa.
FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)
Aller en Centrafrique, pour quoi faire ? | Thierry Vircoulon et Thibaud Lesueur
La République centrafricaine (RCA) est souvent qualifiée de pays oublié, mais c’est loin d’être le cas. Elle a en effet bénéficié pendant longtemps de la présence et de l’attention soutenue de la communauté internationale, mais ces efforts ont été inutiles. Alors que l’ONU vient de donner son feu vert à une intervention militaire française pour mettre fin au chaos et qu’une réunion spéciale sur la Centrafrique est organisé avec le Secrétaire général des Nations unies en marge du sommet Afrique-France à Paris, un partenariat international et régional différent est plus nécessaire que jamais.
La France a toujours eu des troupes en RCA depuis l’indépendance en 1960. Lorsque la crise actuelle a éclaté, 400 militaires français ont été déployés à l’aéroport. L’Union européenne, qui a une délégation à Bangui, est le principal bailleur de fonds depuis dix ans. En 2011, des conseillers militaires américains sont arrivés sur le territoire pour aider l’armée ougandaise à arrêter Joseph Kony, le chef de l’Armée de résistance du Seigneur, recherché par la Cour pénale internationale pour crimes de guerre et soupçonné de se cacher en RCA.
Lire tout l’article (Rue89)
Photo: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection/Flickr
CAR: ‘Genocide’ risk in CAR “overstated” but religious tensions rising | Anna de Mutiis
African Arguments interviewed Thierry Vircoulon, Project Director for Central Africa at International Crisis Group on the current situation in the Central African Republic.
What is the political and security atmosphere in the C.A.R. at the moment? How is the political situation impacting on people’s daily lives?
We were referred to the latest Crisis Group briefing on the CAR.
“Over nine months, the weak Central African Republic (CAR) state has collapsed, triggering a serious humanitarian crisis, with 400,000 displaced and nearly half the population in need of assistance. The transition government and the regional security force have failed to prevent a descent into chaos in urban areas, in particular Bangui, as well as in the countryside.
The situation on the ground is deteriorating at a much faster pace than the international mobilisation, and Bangui is vulnerable to a total breakdown in law and order.
The risk of the CAR becoming ungovernable that Crisis Group highlighted in June 2013 is now real. The Seleka, a loose coalition of armed groups that took power in a March 2013 coup, has broken up into multiple armed factions, whose thuggery has triggered violent reactions among the population. Further, the conflict has taken on a religious undercurrent between the predominantly Muslim Seleka and Christian self-defence groups.
Instability has already spilled over the Cameroon border, and the combination of religious tensions and powerless transitional authorities is the perfect recipe for further deadly clashes between local populations and the various Seleka factions, especially in Bangui.”
FULL ARTICLE (African Arguments)
Photo: DFID - UK Department for International Development/Flickr
Central African Republic is descending into anarchy | Thierry Vircoulon
Since the March 24 coup by the Seleka, a loose coalition of Muslim rebels, the Central African Republic has been in free fall. There are about 400,000 internally displaced people, 64,000 refugees, and burned villages, largely in the western part of the country. Banditry, the rise of self-defense militias and clashes between Christian and Muslim communities are now part of daily life for this mineral-rich country in the heart of Africa. The expanding insecurity makes the delivery of humanitarian assistance difficult, and the United Nations has even warned of the risk of genocide.
Michel Djotodia, the leader of the Seleka, hails from the northeast and was the leader of the Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement (UFDR), one of the armed groups that have challenged the central government since 2007. He is now president of the transition.
The Seleka’s main objective in its move was ousting then-President Francois Bozize. The CAR’s former ruler participated in several attempted coups and finally took power in 2003, also by force. Bozize was re-elected twice, in 2005 and 2011; his second re-election was marred by vote-rigging allegations.
Since this year’s coup occurred, what was supposed to be a three-year process toward a new political order has turned into anarchy. Today Seleka rebels are looting the capital city, Bangui. Djotodia officially dissolved them in September, but even before this formal act, the Seleka was a tenuous coalition. Since then the various armed groups have become autonomous; the chain of command, if it really existed, has disappeared. Seleka fighters roam independently, and some commanders have become warlords. The armed groups are now roving bandits and have triggered local self-defense forces and anti-Muslim reactions because of their exactions against the population, notably in the western part of the country, Bozize’s former fiefdom. In exile, shuttling back and forth between Africa and Europe, Bozize is wanted by the CAR’s attorney general and has stated that he intends to come back by force.
This rapid decline in security has been accompanied by the complete collapse of state institutions and the rise of religious tensions. After those institutions had been eroding for decades, the coup sealed their fate: State security services vanished into thin air, civil servants fled and basic services stopped. For the CAR, it was the coup de trop — the final push.
In the five months after the March coup, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and France, a former colonial power and the only Western country with troops stationed in the CAR, adopted a wait-and-see approach. France was focused on Mali; ECCAS figured the coup was merely business as usual. They urged the new rulers to respect the principles of a national-unity government and previously negotiated political accords, but they did not try to address the security situation, leaving it to CAR transitional authorities — the interim governing authority led by Djotodia.
The outcome of this approach is now clear: The Seleka have become brigands, the country has no central administration, clashes between youths and Seleka fighters occur daily in Bangui, relations between Christians and Muslims have turned violent and the transitional authorities are completely powerless. Recent violence in the western CAR between Seleka fighters and self-defense militias and between Christians and Muslims is, however, a wake-up call. As a result, the long-standing peaceful religious coexistence in a country where Muslims represent between 10 and 20 percent of the population is in jeopardy. The United Nations, ECCAS, the African Union (AU), France and the United States now realize that they cannot afford a new failed state on the continent. But they have yet to articulate an effective response to the highest priority, the swift restoration of law and order.
A short-lived optimism
At a time when the AU is brainstorming about the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), a continental standby force to be used for peacekeeping missions, there are serious lessons to learn from the CAR crash. As documented in the International Crisis Group reports Anatomy of a Phantom State and Dangerous Little Stones: Diamonds in the Central African Republic, the crisis in the CAR is rooted in a long history of state decay and bad governance, particularly in the diamond sector.
Nonetheless, the current collapse could have been avoided. After the Seleka armed groups arrived at the doorstep of the capital last December, the Mission for the Consolidation of Peace in Central African Republic, or MICOPAX — an African peacekeeping force deployed by ECCAS and backed by a French military mission since 2008 — was reinforced and tasked with protecting Bangui. In an unexpected move that was interpreted as a direct show of support for the very weak Bozize regime, South Africa swiftly deployed its forces to Bangui. ECCAS also sponsored the Libreville agreement, signed on Jan. 11 by Bozize, the democratic opposition parties and rebel leaders, which led to a government of national unity. At the beginning of this year, the rebels were militarily contained by MICOPAX and politically accommodated. A smooth constitutional end of Bozize’s regime in 2016 and a success story for the implementation of the AU’s peace and security architecture appeared to be in place.
But this optimism was short-lived. First, among the rebels and the democratic opposition, skepticism grew over whether the political agreement would be implemented. Bozize seemed ever less likely to share power. He dragged his feet to set up an inclusive government, made many decisions unilaterally and rearmed. His anti-Muslim speeches further stirred tension.
Second, other signatories to the Libreville agreement, particularly the ECCAS countries, became dissatisfied with Bozize. They had financially supported his bankrupt regime for years and were instrumental in negotiating the political agreement and stopping the rebels. Bozize’s attempt to sabotage the negotiated transition by inviting South Africa, an outsider, into the regional power play precipitated the crisis. Despite its interposition mandate, the African peacekeeping force did not prevent the rebels from marching on Bangui. Unaware of the political gamesmanship, the South African forces briefly clashed with the rebels and lost 13 soldiers. The full disaster began to unfold.
Lessons from the crisis
What does the CAR crisis mean for African peace and security?
First, the AU’s peace and security architecture works only when there is regional consensus on the political solution required to solve a crisis. ECCAS had enough political leverage to impose a negotiated solution and could have successfully managed a certain level of military threat. However, its lack of political consensus led to military failure, as demonstrated by the uncoordinated South African army deployment.
Second, African peacekeeping capacities are still too thin and need external support. Given that ECCAS was not able or willing to reach the target of 2,000 troops, the AU stepped in to transform the ECCAS-led mission into an AU-led peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic — MISCA. But the AU is bumping into the same problems: funding, logistics and human resources. The transformation of a Central African regional mission into one led by the AU allows for larger troop contributions from across the continent, but the AU is unable to foot the bill and provide much-needed logistics. This is why the United Nations and the European Union are now deliberating on possible international support to MISCA.
Third, prevention of a crisis is much better than a cure — and much cheaper. The CAR crisis is like a boomerang that has returned to strike ECCAS countries. Insecurity is rife on the border with Cameroon, and it may spread to other neighboring countries. If ECCAS countries had only anticipated the consequences of giving free passage to rebels to march on Bangui, they would have acted to prevent the coup and the subsequent mayhem.
FULL ARTICLE (Al Jazeera America)
« Il n’y aura probablement pas d’accord avec le M23 », avertit Thierry Vircoulon de International Crisis Group (ICG) | Digital Congo
Le gouvernement de la RDC a affirmé, mardi 5 novembre au matin, avoir obtenu une “victoire totale” sur la rébellion du Mouvement du 23 mars (M.23) dans le Nord-Kivu à l’est du pays où la rébellion était née en avril 2012. La direction du M.23, issue de la mutinerie d’anciens rebelles – essentiellement tutsis – qui avaient été réintégrés dans l’armée, a annoncé peu après qu’elle abandonnait la lutte armée dès ce jour.
Thierry Vircoulon, directeur du projet Afrique centrale à l’International Crisis Group (ICG), décrypte les implications de cette annonce de l’abandon de la lutte armée par le M23.
Lire tout l’article (Digital Congo)
Photo: United Nations Photo/Flickr
Pourquoi la République centrafricaine sombre-t-elle ? | Léa Baron
Six mois après son auto-proclamation comme président de la Centre-Afrique, Michel Djotodia ne parvient pas à rétablir la sécurité dans le pays. Il a annoncé, vendredi 13 septembre, la dissolution de la coalition rebelle Séléka qu’il menait. Sa décision intervient après un week-end meurtrier. Dimanche, des hommes armés se réclamant du président déchu François Bozizé, se sont attaqués à des villages faisant au moins 100 morts et plus de 25 blessés parmi les civils au nord-ouest du pays. Ces affrontements, qui mêlaient aussi des forces du nouveau régime, aggravent la situation chaotique du pays. Analyse avec Thierry Vircoulon, directeur du service Afrique centrale à l’International Crisis Group.
Lire tout l’article (TV5Monde)
Death toll rises to 73 in Central African Republic clashes | Xan Rice
Fighting between gunmen loyal to Central African Republic’s ex-president and the former rebels who ousted him has claimed more than 70 lives since Saturday, in the deadliest clashes since the coup in March.
The violence occurred in the western region of Bossangoa, the home area of the deposed president François Bozizé. The town of Bouca was attacked, along with a camp run by Seleka, the former rebels who propelled Michel Djotodia, the country’s new leader, to power. Thousands of people fled into nearby forests, and residents, peacekeepers and the government said at least 73 were killed, according to Reuters.
FULL ARTICLE (Financial Times)
Photo: Brice Blondel/Flickr
"The security situation in Bangui is really bad and the coup happened five months ago, so we can say … [those] five months have been wasted …. There is no rule of law and public order is completely gone, because the state security forces are vanished, [the] police and the army are gone …."
—Theirry Vircoulon, Central Africa project director, appearing on Al Jazeera English’s Inside Story
West Africa: Where Navies Are Not Enough - Fighting Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea | Mark Schneider & Thierry Vircoulon
Johnny Depp may be the best-known pirate in theatres, and Somali pirates remain dangerous in the Indian Ocean, but the pirates causing oil companies and Lloyds of London sleepless nights are raiding ships in Africa’s Gulf of Guinea that carry near 30 per cent of all U.S. oil imports.
In the first half of 2013, the London based International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded three times more incidents in the Gulf of Guinea than off the Somali coast. The area of operations was widened on 15 July, when in the latest raid pirates seized a Turkish tanker off the coast of Gabon.
FULL ARTICLE (allAfrica)
Photo: U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos/Flickr