Central Africa Republic: Chronology of 2002

NAIROBI, 17 January (IRIN) - 2 January

  • UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticises the Central African Republic's (CAR) human rights record. In a new report, he says serious rights violations have been perpetrated by uniformed elements, among others.
    8 January - Foreign Minister Agba Otikpo Mezode arrives in the Chadian capital, N'djamena, Chad, for talks with his counterpart there aimed at defusing the growing tension between the two neighbouring countries.

8 January - The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) transfers 306 refugees from Zongo, CAR, to a new location within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

16 January - Regional leaders agree to send a delegation to CAR and Chad in a bid to ease the tension over the presence in Chad of a former CAR general, Francois Bozize, now on the run.

1 February - The Organisation of African Unity says it has asked the UN Security Council to redeploy a peacekeeping force to help consolidate peace in CAR.

8 February - The UN World Food Programme announces that its emergency operation for refugees from the DRC in the CAR is extended to 15 April 2002.

11 February - The UN Development Programme (UNDP) reports that CAR Prime Minister Martin Ziguele has launched a national disarmament and arms collection programme.

15 February - The case against 680 people accused of involvement in the failed coup attempt of 28 May 2001 in the CAR opens in the capital, Bangui, at the appeals court. The trial is then adjourned until 20 February.

27 February - The EC and CAR sign a cooperation agreement in Bangui worth 106.5 million euros (US $92,216,220) to fight poverty over the next five years.

12 March - The UN peace-building office in the CAR, known by its French acronym, BONUCA, launches a countrywide three-month campaign for engendering a "culture of peace, national unity, and democracy and good governance." The campaign begins in Bangui, with a four-day training seminar for the CAR military.

26 March - The governments of the CAR and China sign an economic cooperation worth 10 million yuan ($1.2 million).

10 April - President Ange-Felix Patasse meets President Idriss Deby in N'djamena, to discuss ongoing tensions between the two countries.

18 April - The government of Japan contributes medical equipment worth three billion francs CFA ($4.2 million) to the government of the CAR.

9 May - Nearly one year after its imposition in the wake of a failed coup that shook Bangui, a nationwide curfew is lifted. It was imposed on 28 May 2001 when soldiers loyal to former President Andre Kolingba launched a bid to oust Patasse.

24 May - At the request of the government of the CAR, the WFP launches an emergency operation to supply 216 mt of food to about 6,000 people internally displaced by armed conflict in the north.

28 May - The governments of the CAR and neighbouring Sudan establish a commission of inquiry into the killing on 18 May of about 100 Sudanese cattle herders in the Gordil and Birao areas in the northern savannah of Vakaga Province of the CAR.

24 July - Human development in sub-Saharan countries has "actually regressed" in recent years, worsening the lives of the very poor in these countries, the UNDP says in its Human Development Report for 2002. The CAR is ranked at 165 among 173 countries worldwide on the Human Development Index.

6 August - The resumption of the trial of the alleged authors of the May 2001 coup d'etat is postponed from 12 August to the 19th for logistical reasons.

14 August - Bozize, who says he has loyal armed supporters in the CAR, calls for the resignation of Patasse, adding that he will not return home from exile in Chad until after Patasse's departure.

16 August - Annan proposes the extension of BONUCA for an additional year to help the country solidify peace and promote national reconciliation.

16 August - Central African leaders set up a commission to examine the security situation along the troubled border between the CAR and Chad.

21 August - A joint UN, Chad, CAR mission, headed by Gabonese President Omar Bongo, visits the two nations' common border to investigate recent fighting and prevailing insecurity.

22 August - The trial of alleged coup plotters resumes in the Criminal Court in Bangui, after a five-month suspension following a boycott by defence lawyers.

26 August - The National Criminal Court of the CAR sentences former President Andre Kolingba and 21 associates - including three of his sons - to death for masterminding the failed coup of 28 May 2001. They are sentenced in absentia after being charged with undermining state security, assassination and destruction of property.

26 August - Ziguele says Chadian troops penetrated 17 km into the CAR on 6 August and attacked government troops. Briefing the diplomatic corps in Bangui on the tension between the two countries, Ziguele says the Chadians entered with ground-to-ground missiles, tanks and heavy artillery.

29 August - Kolingba is in Uganda on temporary asylum.

3 September - The UN Population Fund and the joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS inaugurate an HIV/AIDS documentation, information, education and communication centre in Bangui "to reduce the number of HIV-positive people in CAR."

3 September - The controversy over school fees for refugee students at Bangui University, which began during the 2000-2001 academic year, is resolved with the intervention of the National Commission for Refugees.

13 September - BONUCA is carrying out peace campaigns aimed at establishing a frank dialogue between the population, the CAR government and military authorities.

16-20 September - CAR signs the international treaty to ban landmines during a meeting of party states held in Geneva, Switzerland.

19-20 September - Another round of hostilities erupts along the common border of the CAR and Chad in the Chadian village of Tissi. CAR is accused of being behind the attack.

27 September - A nationwide campaign to establish district committees charged overseeing implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is under way in CAR, Marie Edith Douzima-Lawson, a lawyer and president of the national commission in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Convention, says.

7 October - Former CAR Defence Minister Jean-Jacques Demafouth is acquitted of organising a coup against Patasse.

13 October - Togo agrees to take in Martin Koumta Madji, known as Abdoulaye Miskine, a Chadian rebel leader, whose presence in CAR is a source of heightened border tension between the two neighbours.

17 October - CAR is named among 14 African countries that will share a $2.64-million grant from the African Development Fund for the second phase of the continent's programme to control river blindness.

24 October - Bozize's unexpected presence in France will not affect the government's plans to expel Miskine to Togo, an official in Bangui says.

25 October - Forces loyal to Bozize invade the northern suburbs of Bangui in bid to oust Patasse.

28 October - Heavy machine-gun and artillery fire rocks Bangui.

28 October - Loyal government forces and rebel soldiers hold their positions in Bangui.

30 October - Calm returns to Bangui after government forces, backed by troops of the DRC rebel Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC), launch a massive counteroffensive against the Bozize rebels.

30 October - UNHCR officials warn that ethnic tensions could spill over into the DRC with the arrival of refugees fleeing the coup attempt in CAR.

1 November - Humanitarian organisations in the CAR express concern for the safety of thousands of civilians caught between retreating rebel forces and MLC troops pursuing them in the direction of the northern border with Chad.

1 November - The government announces a preliminary toll of 22 dead and 98 wounded among civilians, although sources say that this figure could increase significantly as additional assessments are conducted.

3 November - Patasse's ruling Mouvement pour la liberation du peuple centrafricain (MLPC) accuses Deby of destabilising CAR by supplying men and equipment to Bozize, whose forces attacked Bangui from 25 to 26 October.

5 November - WFP sends 45 mt of food to two NGOs for distribution to 10,000 people in northern parts of Bangui most affected by the recent fighting.

8 November - Some 750 DRC citizens take refuge in their embassy in Bangui, fearing possible retaliation by city residents angered by the looting and rape reportedly committed by the MLC.

8 November - BONUCA sets up commission to investigative human rights violations perpetrated during the invasion on Bangui.

12 November - All the DRC embassy refugees have been repatriated.

15 November - A joint committee comprising UN agencies, NGOs and the government expresses concern that hospitals may run out of medicines unless emergency measures are taken immediately.

16 November - Two Libyan planes bomb the city of Damara, 76 km north of Bangui, in an effort to dislodge Bozize's forces.

17 November - Hundreds of residents recently uprooted from their homes during the October fighting in Bangui begin to return.

19 November - China has delivers military equipment worth francs CFA 100 million to the regional Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States, known by its French acronym CEMAC, to enable it to deploy troops in the CAR.

25 November - Patasse announces in a nationwide address that fierce fighting is in progress in Bossembele, 157 km northwest of Bangui, and that there are plans to hold talks on national reconciliation by the end of December.

27 November - Government troops, backed by the MLC, expel rebels from Bossembele, ending weeks of occupation.

28 November - One month after Bozize's forces attacked Bangui, food security remains a cause for concern, although not at crisis point.

1 December - Patasse, on the 44th anniversary of the CAR's achieving self-government, pardons 66 convicts serving sentences of less than five years.

2 December - Bozize's forces release the presidential spokesman, Prosper Ndouba, whom they captured a month ago.

4 December - The first contingent of the regional CEMAC force arrives in Bangui. They are all Gabonese.

5 December - The Organisation des femmes centrafricaines, a women's association in CAR, launches an aid appeal for women raped during the October rebel invasion.

6 December - Government security forces restore calm in a northern suburb of Bangui where angry residents had set up roadblocks in protest against MLC militiamen.

7 December - Government troops retake Damara, 80 km northwest of Bangui, after a two-hour battle with Bozize's forces.

11 December - Of the 111 women raped during October's fighting in Bangui, and now receiving care from Medicos Sin Fronteras-Espana, 26 test HIV positive.

13 December - Calm returns to a northern suburb of Bangui, after troops storm the area to remove barricades and disperse groups of youths wielding sticks, machetes and axes.

16 December - A British mine-clearance NGO, Halo Trust, advises caution in Damara, because residents fear that unpaved streets may have been mined by retreating rebels.

17 December - A coalition of 12 opposition parties in the CAR, the Concertation des partis politiques d'opposition, organise a day of mourning in solidarity with the victims of the October invasion.

18 December - The CAR government launches an initiative to map the country's health infrastructure.

20 December - The Djiboutian contingent of a presidential protection force in the CAR withdraws.

20 December - Government troops retake the town of Bozoum, 384 km northwest of Bangui, from Bozize's forces.

23 December - The EC donates 400,000 euros to the African Union to support mediation efforts between the government and Bozize's forces.

24 December - Meningitis breaks out in the southern city of Mobaye, on the border with the DRC.

30 December - CEMAC peacekeeping troops begin street patrols in Bangui.

30 December - The government denies the reported massacre last week of MLC soldiers by rebels loyal to Bozize.


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