The Central African Republic conflict is one of a set of regionally connected conflicts addressed by the African Great Lakes process. After the country gained independence from France in 1960 it has been ruled by a sequence of autocratic leaders that principally gained power through coups. Since the mid-1990s several waves of internal conflict took place in the Central African Republic, primarily along tribal, and later-on increasingly sectarian, lines. In 1996 and 1997, French troops and soldiers from neighbouring countries intervened to end a mutiny in the capital, Bangui, by factions of the army. The fighting was predominantly along tribal lines, with southern tribes in revolt against the ‘northern’ government. A UN mission was installed in 1998 to secure the truce.
After General Bozizé took control of the country after several coup attempts in 2003, a ‘bush war’ began led by armed opposition forces. From late 2006 onward, government troops with French military support severely weakened the rebels. Following this, a number of agreements were signed during 2007-2008, but not all factions have accepted them. In 2011, Bozizé was re-elected in supposedly fraudulent elections, which resulted in a new wave of uprisings. Séléka, an alliance of northern rebel groups, took over parts of the country and forced Bozizé to agree to a power-sharing deal. However, after this agreement broke down, Séléka took control of Bangui and Bozizé had to flee the country in 2013. Leader of Séléka, Michel Djotodia, took office and officially disbanded Séléka. However, continual violence between ex-Séléka groups and opposing militias, collectively known as ‘anti-balaka’, persisted and Djotodia was forced to resign less than a year later. Catherine Samba-Panza was installed as interim president until Faustin Archange Touadéra was elected in January 2016. In February 2019 an agreement was signed between the government and fourteen armed groups, including ex-Seleka groups, committed to disarmament. However, violence between ex-Seleka groups and anti-balaka continues.