Small Wars Journal

Rebels in the Central African Republic are Filling the Void of an Absent

Rebels in the Central African Republic are Filling the Void of an Absent Government by Jack Losh – Washington Post

… Years of rebellion, mismanagement and sectarian violence have divided this dusty cattle-trading town and roiled the rest of the Central African Republic, leaving the country’s Western-backed government toothless and unable to exert much authority beyond the capital, Bangui. In the absence of an effective government, more than a dozen armed groups and a multitude of local militias have usurped control of about 80 percent of the impoverished former French colony. Hundreds of thousands have been uprooted from their homes, and more than half of the population is in need of humanitarian aid.

Kaga-Bandoro has, for years, shunned central authority. But even in this anarchic space, rebels here and elsewhere throughout the country are providing some show of statehood. The ruling militants run customs, charge taxes, give out fines and operate their own gendarmes.

“The region has government ministries, but all the staff are in Bangui,” said an aid worker in Kaga-Bandoro who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety. “They get their salary still but can’t do anything here.”

These are central Africa’s ministates — overlapping and unrecognized fiefdoms in a Texas-size country riven by disorder, situated in one of the world’s worst neighborhoods. These lawless territories are extremely volatile and controlled by violent groups prone to infighting. With the country surrounded by Islamist insurgencies and other conflicts in Chad, South Sudan and Congo, the spillover from these badlands can fuel — and be fueled by — the region’s chronic instability…

Read on.