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March 2-8, 2015

Weekly Media Monitoring report for the Central African Republic
Posted on March 9, 2015

Contents

Compiled by Christina Murphy

  1. Sant'Egidio brokers agreement between politicians 
  2. Women hold peace march in Bangui
  3. Priest carjacked at gunpoint on north side of Bangui
  4. Armed men attack parish in Bria

1. Sant'Egidio brokers agreement between politicians
Government-owned media

"La MINUSCA se fécilite de l'engagement des acteurs politiques centrafricains à Rome." Centrafrique Presse Info (CPI), 3 March 2015. In French.

  • The UN mission in CAR, MINUSCA, issued a statement welcoming the signing of a document of support by key politicians under the auspices of the Catholic organization Sant'Egidio in Rome. The agreement states that the signatories agree to support democratic and national reconciliation processes in CAR. 
  • Babacar Gaye, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Central African Republic, expressed his happiness with the agreement and stated: "This gesture is also the expression of a patriotic, republican and democratic attitude to be translated immediately into action." 
Privately-owned media

"Des engagements en 15 points pour une sortie de crise en Centrafrique." Radio Ndeke Luka, 2 March 2015. In French.

  • Following a series of meetings hosted by the organization Sant'Egidio, politicians from the Central African Republic signed an agreement with fifteen commitments for ending the conflict in CAR.
  • The agreement, entitled "Rome Appeal to the Central African People and the International Community", included commitments to support the success of the Bangui Forum, to fight against any attempts to undermine peace talks, to contribute to security sector reform, and to respect the outcomes of the upcoming elections, among other things.
  • The signatories also called on the international community to support the CAR government as well as the National Electoral Authority (ANE).
  • The signatories included four previous prime ministers, the second vice-president of the transitional government, the president of the organizing committee for the Bangui Forum, and other key politicians.  
International media

"Sant'Egidio s'implique dans la résolution de la crise." Jeune Afrique, 3 March 2015. In French.

  • Twelve Central African politicians signed a document agreeing to support the Bangui Forum and respect upcoming presidential elections, among other things, following a series of meetings hosted by the Catholic conflict resolution organization Sant'Egidio in Rome.
  • Despite the presence of high-profile politicians, the transitional government considers this series of meetings to be a "personal initiative." CAR president Catherine Samba-Panza has instead called for help from the NGO Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue out of fear that Sant'Egidio's religious affiliation would cause problems. 

"Un accord pour de bonnes élections signé à Rome." Agence Afrique, via Africatime, 2 March 2015. In French.

  • Key politicians from the Central African Republic signed a document agreeing to support "free and transparent elections" in the country, thanks to the mediation of the organization Sant'Egidio.
  • The completion of the agreement coincided with a visit to Italy by Congolese president Dénis Sassou-Nguesso, the mediator of the crisis, but observers said that he was not directly involved in the meetings hosted by Sant'Egidio or the resulting agreement. 

Niewiadowski, Dénis. "L'Appel de Rome: Est-il utile pour la réconciliation nationale en Centrafrique?" Jeune Afrique, 6 March 2015. In French.

  • In this opinion piece, Dénis Niewiadowski, a professor and political analyst, expresses doubt about the ability of the agreement signed in Rome to support national reconciliation. In particular, he criticizes the meetings in Rome for taking place outside the country and for failing to include certain Muslim leaders as well as key peace advocates.
  • He also writes that, although the Rome Appeal's support for democratic elections is a welcome measure, it is unlikely that armed groups in CAR will support them. Mediated processes of national reconciliation continue to take place, yet it is unlikely that they will have a "real impact on the process of returning to peace and on the humanitarian situation" in the country as a whole.  
2. Women hold peace march in Bangui
Privately-owned media

"Marche des femmes pour la paix dans le 4e arrondissement." Radio Ndeke Luka, 5 March 2015. In French.

  • On Thursday 5 March, hundreds of women from the 4th district of Bangui held a march calling for peace in the country. The march passed through the "Boy-Rabe" neighborhood, one of the most insecure in Bangui, and ended at the town hall of the 4th district. 
  • The marchers were accompanied by UN peacekeepers as well as several local politicians. 
3. Priest carjacked at gunpoint on north side of Bangui
Privately-owned media

"Un prêtre braque à la sortie nord de Bangui." Centrafrique Libre, 4 March 2015. In French.

  • A priest was held up by a group of armed youth, who then stole his car, on the evening of 3 March. The identities of the armed youth are unknown, but the article notes that the north side of Bangui, where the incident took place, is largely controlled by anti-balaka militias.
  • The article notes that this was the third car theft in three days. Anti-balaka fighters stole two humanitarian vehicles earlier in the week. 
4. Armed men attack parish in Bria
Privately-owned media

"La paroisse Saint Louis de Bria, victime d'un cas de braquage à main armée." Centrafrique Libre, 5 March 2015. In French.

  • Unidentified armed men broke into the Parish of Saint Louis in Bria on the night of 3 March 2015. No injuries were reported.
  • The armed group stole a motorbike belonging to the diocese of Bambari, which was later found in the Bornou neighborhood of Bria, a majority Muslim area. An anonymous source told Centrafrique Libre that the motorbike was found at the home of an ex-Seleka fighter. 
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