Negotiations that resulted in an agreement for peace between the Central African Republic (CAR) and fourteen rebel groups took place this Tuesday, 5th February 2019, in Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum. This new agreement serves as the eighth attempt to unite the government and the rebel groups. Supported by the African Union and the UN, a thirty-page deal titled the Political Accord for Peace and Reconciliation was signed by all parties in hopes of ending violence, bringing justice, and rehabilitating the war-torn country.
In his speech at the accord ceremony CAR President, Faustin-Archange Touadera, explained that “the Khartoum agreement opens the door for peace to return to our homeland”. A spokesperson from FPRC, one of the fourteen rebel militias also released a statement of confidence in the deal. He says, “We were able to agree on what is essential for the Central African Republic – peace. We hope this agreement will bring back social cohesion to the country”.
The actions taken by Touadera in conjunction with the rebel groups to secure peace for CAR are extremely commendable. The UN mission, Minusca must also be recognized for its peacekeeping work and its protection of CAR citizens throughout the barbarous civil war that has killed thousands and displaced over one million people.
CAR has a history that carries the burdens of enslavement, human trafficking, and colonialism. After two centuries under French colonial rule, CAR gained its independence in 1960. The colonial era produced a population divided religiously, ethnically, and socially. Since its independence, CAR has suffered at the hands of power-hungry dictators, coup d’états. Furthermore, it has been forced to cope with the effects of wartime and genocide in neighboring countries. When the muslim-majority Seleka militia took power in March 2013, it clashed heavily with the majority Christian anti-balaka forces. The Republic became a battleground for a religious and political war that echoed its tumultuous past dealings of war and enslavement. If the current agreement maintains amity between the government and the rebel groups, it will be a huge victory for the country, yet many are skeptical.
The president and his newfound allies may revel in bringing forth an effective deal, but as this is the eighth attempt at peace the people of CAR and the rest of the world hesitate to celebrate just yet. If this accord fails to put an end to the violence, chaos, and bloodshed, it will be up to Touadera’s government to find another solution. Its inhabitants deserve peace and rehabilitation, and it is everyone’s hope that this deal sees it through.