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Central African Republic - C.A.R. - 2015

A hidden conflict was taking place in rural parts of the Central African Republic. The conflict is between cattle herders and farmers. The herders are mostly Muslims from the Peul ethnic group. Most of the farmers are either Christians or animists. Animists believe that animals, plants and other things in nature have spirits just as human beings do. cattle growers and their animals are generally not welcome in agricultural areas. Clashes develop when the growers come under attack. The farmers attack the herders, who then answer with their own attacks. Very often, the clashes take on religious or ethnic overtones. One side attacks the other for what appears to be religious or ethnic reasons.

The government of Central African Republic and 10 armed groups signed a peace deal May 10, 2015 aimed at ending two years of fighting that has killed thousands. UN Special Representative Babacar Gaye said, "I want to believe that the commitment is sincere and that we will engage in the construction of progressive peace."

The interim government announced that Central African Republic will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on 18 October 2015. Many in the CAR's political class are tainted by association with the Seleka, who still control nearly half the country but are hated by most of the population.

UN agencies warned of a resurgence in widespread ethnic and religious fighting in Central African Republic, following an outbreak of fighting which left dozens dead and scores injured in the capital, Bangui. The United Nations reported September 29, 2015 clashes and reprisal attacks involving rival militias since September 26, 2015 had killed at least 37 people and injured more than 100 others in Central African Republic. Presidential elections were scheduled for October 18, though it was widely expected they would be postponed.

War-torn Central African Republic set 27 December 2015 as the new date for presidential and legislative elections. Officials say a second round of polls would be held if necessary on January 31. The vote would be preceded by a December 13 referendum on proposed changes to the constitution, including a clause that would limit future presidents to two five-year terms in office.

On December 13, 2015 at least six people were wounded in fighting and gunfire in Bangui as voters in the Central African Republic cast ballots in a referendum on a new constitution intended to stop more than three years of violence. Muslim and Christian militia members, who had been responsible for the violence, threatened to stop the vote. If passed, the new constitution would limit the president to two five-year terms, cut the power of the military and ensure religious freedom. If adopted, it would usher in the sixth republic since independence from France in 1960 and mark its 13th political regime underlining the chronic instability undermining the country.

Nearly 90 percent of voters in the Central African Republic's capital Bangui voted for changes to the constitution in a referendum aimed at ending years of sectarian strife, though turnout was low at 30 percent, partial results showed 16 December 2015.

Voters in the Central African Republic overwhelmingly backed a constitutional referendum aimed at ending nearly three years of political instability. Election officials said 21 December 2015 that provisional results showed that 93 percent of voters were in favor of the new constitution, which would limit the president to two five-year terms, cut the power of the military and ensure religious freedom. Election officials, however, said that turnout was only 38 percent in the December 13 vote.

The United Nations was rebuked for a "gross" failure to act on allegations that French and African troops sexually abused children in the Central African Republic, in a report by an independent panel released 24 December 2015. In a 100-page long-awaited report, the panel described a breakdown in UN leadership on the ground in Bangui followed by missteps by senior officials in Geneva and New York after the allegations were leaked.

Central African Republics electoral commission scrambled to get everything in place for polling set for 30 December 2015 Wednesday, in hopes the election will bring peace to the country after three years of violent conflict.

While the much-delayed elections passed largely peacefully, there were a few problems, particularly with the parliamentary elections, with some names of candidates reported missing from ballots. In many areas, at least 30 districts, ballot papers for parliamentary elections simply didnt show up at polling stations. So, there are questions over whether that part of the vote will have to be held again. With 30 presidential candidates in the race, experts believed there was likely to be a second round for the presidential vote.

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Page last modified: 06-06-2017 18:15:24 ZULU