The current civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) can be traced back to the 2004 CAR Bush War when 2003 a coup led by General Francois Bozize ousted the country’s first democratically elected president. Two peace treaties were agreed upon in 2007 and 2011 to no avail. In 2012 the CAR Civil War broke out in response to breaches of the latter treaty and opposition to the President Bozize who was elected under fraudulent conditions. In 2012 rebel militia groups united as an anti-government coalition called the Seleka and began taking control of cities throughout the country and finally the capital, Bangui. The Seleka was shortly disbanded but the resulting fractured groups have continued to play a role in the conflict known as ex-Seleka militias. Since then the war has been characterized by the struggle between the ex-Seleka militias and the anti-Balaka militia. The ex-Seleka militias are bound to their roots as largely Muslim, nomadic people with control in the north and east while the anti-Balaka are Christian, agricultural people. In 2014 the country was de facto partitioned into the two regions controlled by the ex-Seleka militias and the anti-Balaka militias. Since then, cities and regions outside Bangui have been split into individual fiefdoms ruled by militia warlords.
United Nations peacekeeping efforts have been present in CAR since 2014 under the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR, or MINUSCA. As of 2021 there are almost 16,000 MINUSCA personnel present throughout the country. The European Union has also sent troops to the region and other African nations have utilized their own peacekeeping forces in attempts to control violent outbreaks and various transitions of power in the government. The war has become particularly volatile in recent years following increased involvement from Russia in the form of weaponry and military training in support of the central government. Concerns came to a head in early September 2021 when an aid worker was killed by a landmine. Despite the fact that CAR has been one of the most dangerous countries in the world for foreign aid workers since 2017, this event has renewed international attention and the need for intervention as it highlights the use of guerrilla tactics putting civilians in even more danger.
To address this civil war it will be necessary for the international community to take into account the difficulties linked with the current governing body, peace keeping efforts, and the humanitarian conditions faced by the population at large. The Central African government has greatly expanded regional control over the past few years, however, this expansion has not had a positive effect on human rights conditions or lessened violence. The government’s expanded power can be linked to their support from the Russian government and expanded usage of landmines. Meanwhile, peacekeeping efforts have faced smear campaigns making false claims that they implemented the use of landmines despite their direct efforts to remove landmines. Finally, one must consider the humanitarian conditions faced by Central Africans. Central African Muslims in the anti-Balaka regions have faced religion-based violence and been forced to flee their land. Meanwhile, the population in general is one of the poorest in the world and only three percent of the population has access to running water, a problem only worsened by conflict as water resources have been compromised by militia groups.