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Seleka / Republic of Logone / Dar El Kuti

The Republic of Logone was proclaimed 14 December 2015 as an autonomous state in north-east Central African Republic at Kaga-Bandoro by Seleka rebels. Later, it was announced that the name of the new country was "Dar El Kuti" (not recognized by the Central African Republic government).

Seleka (“Alliance” in the local Sango language) forces that overthrew the government in March 2012 are predominantly Muslim, and include fighters from neighboring African countries. Comprised of various former rebel groups that signed a peace accord with President Bozize in 2007, Seleka formed from the offshoots of defunct rebel groups in late 2012, complaining that those negotiations had been unfulfilled. The growing violence carried out by the mostly Muslim Seleka forces and mostly Christian anti-Balaka self-defense forces created a dynamic of growing inter-religious tension and hatred that threatened to spiral out of control.

The Seleka’s ranks increased during 2013 from approximately 5,000 fighters in March to an estimated 20,000 by May, due in part to the incorporation of foreign nationals, including Chadian and Sudanese mercenaries. The government did not have the capacity to control or equip a comparably large security force. Many security force members were foreigners and not under the direct command and control of the government or its normal senior commanders. Security forces loyal to ousted president Bozize as well as unprotected and unpaid civil servants fled.

The US government estimated the total CAR population at 5.2 million (July 2013 estimate). According to the 2003 census, the population is 51 percent Protestant, 29 percent Roman Catholic, 10 percent Muslim, and 4.5 percent other religions, while 5.5 percent have no religious beliefs. Some Christians and Muslims incorporate aspects of indigenous beliefs into their religious practices. Muslims continued to face discrimination in gaining access to government services because low-level bureaucrats reportedly created informal barriers.

Meaning “coalition” in Sango – one of two official national languages in the CAR – the Seleka insurgency is an alliance of an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 former rebels. In the face of virtually no opposition from the disorganized and poorly trained CAR army, Seleka tore towards the capital of Bangui, occupying numerous towns on its way. For weeks after, it camped outside of the capital threatening an invasion.

Beginning in December 2012, the newly formed Seleka insurgent group began its offensive in the Central African Republic (CAR), occupying towns in succession as it advanced towards the capital, Bangui, in an attempt to overthrow President Francois Bozize. stationing itself less than fifty miles outside of the capital.

On 11 January 2013, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) brokered the Libreville Accords, which provided for transitional and power sharing measures among President Bozize, the political opposition, and the Seleka rebel alliance, which ostensibly ended the tense, weeks-long situation in the country. However, some members of Seleka still occupyied towns, thereby generating a new crop of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Within weeks of the Libreville Accords, Seleka leader Michel Djotodia accused President Bozize of ignoring the agreement, advanced on the capital, and deposed Bozize on 24 March 2013. The Seleka, during their advance on Bangui, tortured and mistreated civilians at checkpoints, in illegal detention centers, and in other locations to obtain information on the location of money, weapons, and other belongings.

The Seleka emptied numerous prisons as they moved across the country toward Bangui. Many of the prisoners released by the Seleka joined their ranks. Seleka commanders repopulated some of the prisons in addition to establishing their own makeshift detention centers. Detainees were reportedly kept in homes, in military camps, and on government premises not intended for keeping detainees.

After the fall of the capital, President Bozize fled the country and rebel leader Djotodia declared himself president, suspended the constitution, and dissolved the national assembly. Various armed groups engaged in combat during the year, and civilians often were killed, abducted, displaced from their homes, or generally restricted in their movements as a result of continuing internal conflict stemming from the Seleka rebellion.

As an amalgamation of several former insurgencies that signed a peace deal with Bozize in 2007, Seleka seemed to lack a truly centralized chain of command that could authoritatively demand its departure from occupied towns. Seleka is thought to have come into existence in September 2012, with three of the country’s rebel groups – The Patriots’ Convention for Justice and Peace (CPJP), The Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR), and The Democratic Front of Central African People (FDPC) – allied themselves in opposition to the Bozizé regime. To these previously known groups, two newer outfits have reportedly joined forces: The Patriotic Convention for the Salvation of Kodro (“kodro” means “country” in Sango) and the Alliance for Renaissance and Reorganization.

Seleka "invited" into its ranks not only the aforementioned Chadian and Sudanese fighters, but also – and more interestingly – fighters from the Nigerian Islamist group, Boko Haram. Thus far, Boko Haram had not proven itself to have much a presence this far east of Nigeria. Observers believe that a rather more diverse cast of characters is at Seleka’s core. Government officials have accused Seleka of harboring “foreign provocateurs” greedy for the country’s vast mineral wealth, and there are suspicions that nationals from Chad, Nigeria, and Sudan also make up Seleka’s ranks. Rather than being a simple revolt by CAR’s civil society, money to pay Seleka’s soldiers may originate from the same sources that funded the Malian, Libyan, and Tunisian revolts: among others, this could imply Chad and possibly al Qaeda.

The transitional government, with the support of the ECCAS Mission for the Consolidation of Peace in Central Africa (MICOPAX, also known as FOMAC), launched the disarmament and cantonment of the Seleka on 01 July 2013 to reestablish security throughout the country. The transitional government denied the UNHRC mission both access to the camps where the Seleka had been cantoned and information on the exact number of Seleka members disarmed and cantoned. The transitional government also implemented a “regroupment” of soldiers in the former security forces of the Bozize government – the Forces Armees Centrafricaines (FACA). After taking power, the Djotodia government failed to establish its authority over most of the country or to guarantee the safety of its inhabitants, especially outside of Bangui. State rule, already weak under Bozize, largely collapsed.

After deposing former President Bozize, the Seleka increased restrictions on movement by setting up a greater number of roadblocks than had been in place previously and closing several transit roads. Seleka members extracted bribes from travelers at checkpoints, and the Seleka reportedly beat, tortured, and killed those unable to pay. The Seleka engaged in organized and systematic looting of hundreds of private homes and shops. Seleka members sacked one village in August 2013: the courtroom’s roof disappeared. Doors, hinges, even electrical wiring went.” The Seleka’s looting and pillaging devastated the country’s administrative and commercial infrastructure.

The new government never exerted strong command and control of Seleka forces and in September 2013 Djotodia declared the former rebel group dissolved.

Relatively autonomous Seleka commanders, some of whom were Chadian or Sudanese, continued to operate and prey on local populations, however. Many members of FACA retained allegiance to various Seleka rebel commanders. The mostly Muslim Seleka often targeted Christian communities and Christian-owned businesses and carried out murders, rapes, robberies, looting, and burning of villages. The Seleka abuses gave rise in turn to Christian self-defense groups that sought to kill Seleka fighters and Muslims more generally. The government consistently failed to stop or punish abuses by either Seleka or Christian militias.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on 21 August 2015 designated Central African Republic (CAR) militia leaders pursuant to Executive Order (EO. 13667 for being leaders of groups that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the CAR. Oumar Younous was designated for being a leader of the Seleka armed group, which has, or whose members have, threatened the peace, security, or stability of the CAR. Younous is a senior Seleka commander and is a close confidante of former President Michel Djotodia and Noureddine Adam, who are both named in the Annex to E.O. 13667. Younous was the commander in the diamond mining town of Sam Ouandja, Haute-Kotto Prefecture and served as the Seleka’s official coordinator for CAR diamond exports to several countries after CAR was suspended from the Kimberley Process — an international initiative designed to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. Younous was also involved in exporting BADICA diamonds to Sudan.

The entire Central African territory was threatened with annexation by neighboring Islamist states, namely Chad and Sudan. In northern Mali, there were Tuareg jihadists, while in the Central African Republic, we have the "leftover garbage" from Boko Haram, as well as Chadian and Sudanese Islamists, all of which had dreams to establish Sharia law in this part of world. This is without mentioning mercenaries associated with Ugandan rebel slave warlord Joseph Kony.

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Page last modified: 08-06-2017 18:25:34 ZULU