CAR

Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2262 (2016) (S/2016/1032)

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Letter dated 5 December 2016 from the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2262 (2016) addressed to the President of the Security Council

The members of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to resolution 2262 (2016) have the honour to transmit herewith, in accordance with paragraph 23 (c) of resolution 2262 (2016), the final report on their work.

The attached report was provided to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic on 4 November 2016 and was considered by the Committee on 2 December 2016.

The Panel of Experts would appreciate it if the present letter and its annex were brought to the attention of the members of the Security Council and issued as a document of the Council.

(Signed) Ruben de Koning
Coordinator
Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2262 (2016)

(Signed) Luis Benavides
Expert

(Signed) Romain Esmenjaud
Expert

(Signed) Paul-Simon Handy
Expert

(Signed) Mélanie De Groof
Expert

Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2262 (2016)

Summary

Despite important post-transition achievements, such as the launching of efforts towards the national disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and reintegration of armed groups and revitalized regional cooperation, the newly-elected Central African Government has not been able to come to grips with a deteriorating security situation, observed since June 2016. While violence among ex-Séléka factions and between anti-balaka and ex-Séléka first appeared to be localized and largely driven by internal power struggles and competition over territory, incidents have grown more severe and widespread during the months of September and October 2016.

Moreover, violent incidents in Bangui and the hinterland are increasingly interconnected, with political agendas entwined in the fighting. A violent exodus on 12 August 2016 of ex-Séléka militia from the PK5 neighbourhood in Bangui, including Abdoulaye Hissène and sanctioned individual Haroun Gaye, created a manhunt that was led by anti-balaka, but with the tacit support of some Bangui politicians. In mid-September, anti-balaka fighters from Bangui travelled to confront ex-Séléka, committing violence south of Kaga-Bandoro, where violence further escalated mid-October when ex-Séléka fighters assaulted the town’s camp of internally displaced persons.

Such recent acts of violence by ex-Séléka factions and their endeavours to reunify in Bria have reactivated anti-balaka groups in Bangui, some of them galvanized by the return of Jean-Francis Bozizé, former Defence Minister and son of sanctioned individual and former President Francois Bozizé. Some civil society leaders and politicians have used popular resentment to criticize the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) for its alleged inability to contain ex-Séléka factions, calling for the lifting of the arms embargo and the rearmament of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) under the guise of protecting civilians.

Following the killing of a FACA officer in the PK5 neighbourhood on 5 October 2016 and the ensuing deadly clashes and retaliations, civil society leader Gervais Lakosso organized a mass violent protest against MINUSCA in Bangui on 24 October. The protests left several people dead and paralysed the capital for days. Five peacekeepers were injured.

Sanctioned individual Nourredine Adam has — to date — failed to reunify ex-Séléka factions. During the long-awaited General Assembly held in Bria in late October 2016, only the Rassemblement patriotique pour le renouveau de la Centrafrique (RPRC) joined Adam’s Front populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC). The Mouvement patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC) of Mahamat Al-Khatim and the Union pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC) of Ali Darrassa stuck to their independent posture.

In the centre of the country, UPC, in particular, has further extended its area of control, moving to the south and east from its headquarters in Bambari in order to control important diamond mining areas around Nzako and arms trafficking routes spreading from the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the country. In the north, arms trafficking, for the benefit of FPRC, runs through Am Dafok and Tissi, a town that straddles the borders between the Central African Republic and Chad.

In the east, the Lord’s Resistance Army has been on a spree, carrying out a number of civilian abductions. The group’s trading activities in Kafia Kingi suffered a blow in January 2016 when a number of fighters were expelled after a fallout with local traders. The group continues to loot gold and diamonds and to poach wildlife, as do competing groups of Sudanese poachers.

Most of the southwest of the country is free from violent conflict. However, for a brief period following the violent events in Bangui in June 2016 there was an increase in the number of incidents of harassment of Muslim returnees and internally displaced persons. While periodically under pressure, freedom of movement of Muslim diamond collectors is improving. The Panel does not therefore place in doubt the recent decisions by a Kimberley Process monitoring team to readmit the sub-prefectures of Berbérati, Nola, Carnot and Boda to the international diamond trade.

While having an important signalling effect, targeted sanctions against individuals and entities listed by the Committee have been poorly implemented. After being listed, Eugène Ngaïkosset and Alfred Yékatom have received their salaries as army officers. Yékatom’s salary payments have stopped, not as a result of sanctions, but rather because he had to resign from the army to run for legislative elections. The Panel has received only verbal assurances that he is not paid as a parliamentarian.

Furthermore, judiciary procedures against listed individuals and other spoilers identified in the Panel’s previous reports have been delayed. Arrest warrants against sanctioned individuals Nourredine Adam, Haroun Gaye and Eugène Ngaïkosset have not been carried out. Jean-Francis Bozizé was arrested by MINUSCA but soon released under judicial supervision by the Central African authorities. Hamit Tidjani, a member of Abdoulaye Hissène’s network, who was also arrested by MINUSCA and transferred to Central African authorities, has remained in custody.

The judiciary of the Central African Republic has failed to issue arrest warrants for two known perpetrators of violence in Bangui: the former director of Central African Office for the Suppression of Banditry, Robert Yékoua-Ketté, and the army officer Legrand Yamanza, who killed a Senegalese peacekeeper in June 2016. Investigations are formally ongoing but in reality little effort has been made to apprehend them.