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Central African Republic Gendarmerie

The two primary law enforcement groups are the National Police and the Gendarmerie. Both groups are focused primarily in the larger towns and cities. The gendarmerie, consisting of 2,300 personnel, is formed into 8 brigades. There are 2 gendarmerie posts in Bangui and various posts in larger towns throughout the country. Personnel are poorly paid and some are corrupt.

The police and gendarmerie have responsibility for enforcing law and maintaining order; however, both largely were withdrawn from the interior of the country during the violence in 2013 and had limited or no presence in many areas. While the police and gendarmerie increased the number of towns in which they were present during the year, they remained poorly trained and had few functioning arms and little ammunition. Impunity was a problem. Contributing factors included insufficient staffing and resources; corruption; unpaid salaries for the police, gendarmerie, and judiciary; and too few prisons.

The CAR National Police and gendarmerie suffer from limited resources, a lack of training, illiteracy, and weak command/control that make basic policing services a challenge. Law enforcement and security services are irregularly paid, which encourages corruption and predation on civilians for a source of income.

There have been reports that some law enforcement officers are perpetrators of crimes. They use their weapons and uniforms in the commission of crimes, further weakening confidence in law enforcement. The further one gets from Bangui, the more loosely laws are enforced and more subjectivity applied.

Bribes of even a few dollars can make serious allegations disappear. Law enforcement officers routinely make arbitrary arrests based on suspicion rather than actual evidence. The legal system is rudimentary and ineffective with regard to the provision of due process.

The French gendarmerie established itself in the late 1920s in the colony of Oubangui-Chari which is part of French Equatorial Africa (AEF). In 1945, a section was created in this territory and the first African auxiliary gendarmes were recruited the following year. Ten years later, a company is formed in Bangui. It is called successively grouping of the Oubangui-Chari, then of Centrafrique. At the time of independence in August 1960, this group became the Legion of Gendarmerie of the Central African Republic, and subsequently the Central African Gendarmerie.

There were 1,600 gendarmes in 1970, nearly 1,000 in 1983 and about 1,300 in the early 1990s. In 1991, the Gendarmerie National de Centrafrique comprised a legion of territorial gendarmerie divided into 4 groups, 15 companies and 116 brigades And specialized units, as well as a mobile gendarmerie legion consisting of a service squadron, two intervention squadrons and an intervention group of the Gendarmerie Nationale.

In 2003, the Central African Gendarmerie consisted of 4 battalions, a mobile legion, a territorial legion and a training center. In the course of its history, the institution has been confronted with several coups and three civil wars since 2004. Inter-ethnic and interreligious clashes and violence among civilian populations have led to a humanitarian crisis which has led to the European Union intervention with the deployment of the European Gendarmerie Force (EUFOR RCA), the African Union and the UN (MINUSCA).

By April 2017 there were 9,500 candidates to discuss their entry into the Police and Gendarmerie forces after a competition where 500 policemen and gendarmes will be retained. The number of candidates was made public by the Minusca which co-organized the recruitment with the government. To restore the authority of the state after the crisis, the Central African government in collaboration with the Minusca launched on 1 February 2017 the recruitment of police and gendarmes throughout the territory. The announcement came as the government was expected on the date of the competition and the practical modality for candidates from within the country.

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Page last modified: 06-06-2017 18:14:42 ZULU