Letter dated 14 December 2018 from the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic established pursuant to resolution 2399 (2018) addressed to the President of the Security Council
The members of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to resolution 2399 (2018) have the honour to transmit herewith, in accordance with paragraph 32 (c) of resolution 2399 (2018), 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 13 November 2018 and was considered by the Committee on 7 December 2018.
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) Romain Esmenjaud
(Signed) Mélanie De Groof
(Signed) Paul-Simon Handy
(Signed) Ilyas Oussedik
(Signed) Enrica Picco
Leaders of armed groups have continued to send contradictory signals in the lead-up to the political dialogue aimed at the adoption of a global peace agreement in the Central African Republic. This is especially true of leaders of the ex-Séléka coalition who, although participating in various meetings and expressing support for the African Union Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, have yet to take any concrete steps towards disarmament.
Further, ex-Séléka leaders continue to display growing opposition to the Government in the context of the ongoing redeployment of the Forces armées centrafricaines (FACA) in their areas of influence. In their view, redeployment to these areas should only be done after the signing of a global agreement. At a meeting in Moyenne-Sido on 5 August 2018, sanctioned individual Abdoulaye Hissène of the Front populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC), Ali Darassa of the Union pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC) and Mahamat Al-Khatim of the Mouvement patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC) made a significant show of force and unity, though not resulting in concrete cooperation between their factions on the ground.
In order to strengthen their military position in view of the upcoming dialogue and to prepare for possible confrontation with national defence and security forces, ex-Séléka groups have continued to acquire weaponry. The present report provides detailed information on illicit trafficking of weaponry by FPRC and UPC, in particular from the territory of the Sudan.
The opposition of the ex-Séléka leaders to any outside influence in territories under their control, whether from the State or other armed groups, reflec ts their reluctance to have their economic interests challenged in any way. The report describes the primary importance of the cattle sector to the operational and funding strategies of most armed groups, in particular the Fulani-dominated UPC, Siriri and Retour, réclamation et réhabilitation (3R).
Armed groups also continue to generate revenue through gold and diamond mining activities, mainly through illegal taxation systems. Furthermore, the Panel noted that, given the weakness of national regulations on the legal trade in gold, some economic operators export gold originating from areas under the control of armed groups and therefore contribute to their funding, at least indirectly. The report also provides information on the involvement of Ousmane Mahamat Ousmane, an ex-Séléka leader and former adviser to the President, in a case of diamond trafficking to Cameroon.
While armed group leaders continue to portray themselves as responsible actors protecting civilian populations and humanitarian actors, their fighters continue to commit gross human rights violations. The Panel investigated cases involving such violations, including targeted attacks against civilians and humanitarian actors, in the Nana-Grébizi, Ouham and Ouham-Pendé prefectures. Such acts were perpetrated by fighters of FPRC, MPC and the Mouvement national pour la libération de la Centrafrique (MNLC) of Ahmat Bahar, as well as anti-balaka combatants. The report also provides information on attacks against United Nations peacekeepers, especially by self-defence groups in the south-east of the country. Furthermore, the Panel expresses concern over the underreporting of conflict-related sexual violence and the limited support to victims of sexual and gender-based violence in the Central African Republic.
The conflict in the Central African Republic remains at the crossroads of a number of regional dynamics and crises. The report provides information about regional fighters in search of lucrative opportunities provided by armed groups. Further information is also provided on the cooperation early in 2018 between FPRC and the rebel group of John Tshibangu, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Panel has continued to monitor the implementation of sanctions measures (the arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban). The report includes an update on the continuing efforts of the Government to acquire military equipment on the basis of exemptions to the arms embargo and relevant notifications, as well as on the ongoing deployments of the national defence and security forces. The Panel underlines that, in violation of the arms embargo, national authorities have authorized the import of weapons and hunting ammunition.
In violation of the sanctions measures, sanctioned individuals Abdoulaye Hissène and Nourredine Adam also continued to travel, for instance, to participate in a meeting in Khartoum on 27 and 28 August 2018. Furthermore, several listed individuals, all former anti-balaka leaders, continued to receive their salaries from the national authorities, including Alfred Yékatom, who was arrested on 29 October 2018 after he fired his shotgun in the National Assembly.