29 June - 5 July, 2015
Compiled by Christina Murphy
- Samba Panza officially opens electoral registration
- One killed, several injured in grenade blast
- Anti-balaka leader and militants disarm, renounce violence in Bangui
1. Samba Panza officially opens electoral registration
"Catherine Samba-Panza lance l'enrôlement électoral." Radio Ndeke Luka, 29 June 2015. In French.
- On 29 June 2015, transitional president Catherine Samba Panza officially opened registration for upcoming legislative and presidential elections. The opening ceremony was held at a school in the 7th arrondissement of Bangui.
- A ceremony intended to launch the registration in Bangui's 3rd arrondissement was disrupted last week by unidentified young men. A youth leader from the 4th arrondissement urged others to welcome electoral workers, rather than boycott.
“Centrafrique: Les opérations de recensement électoral lancées avec deux jours de retard.” Centrafrique Libre, 29 June 2015. In French.
- Transitional president Catherine Samba Panza opened electoral registration in the country on 29 June, and was the first person to register. The registration was supposed to begin two days earlier, but was halted due to protests in Bangui’s 3rd arrondissement.
- The first day of registration saw low levels of turnout, according to the article. Some residents of Bangui’s 4th, 5th, and 7th arrondissements expressed confusion around where registration activities are taking place, or whether they are happening at all.
- Registration is scheduled to take place in Bangui between 27 June and 11 July, and in the provinces between 12 and 27 July.
2. One killed, several injured in grenade blast
Ngombou, Fidèle. “L’explosion d’une grenade fait un mort et des blesses à Damara.” Radio Ndeke Luka, 27 June 2015. In French.
- A grenade explosion killed one person and injured several others in the village of Oumba, near Damara.
- Local accounts of the incident differ. Some say that the grenade was buried by armed groups in 2013, and just now exploded. Others say that a young man, hoping to teach others a lesson, accidentally caused it to explode.
- Damara and surrounding areas have been the site of several violent episodes and stand-offs between security forces and local youth in recent months.
3. Anti-balaka leader and militants disarm, renounce violence in Bangui
“Plus de 200 miliciens Antibalaka abandonment le grand banditisme.” Radio Ndeke Luka, 30 June 2015. In French.
- More than 200 Antibalaka militants from the Pk12 neighborhood on the north edge of Bangui formed a new youth organization called the “Upright Youth Association of Pk12”, pledging to renounce banditry and “bury the hatchet of war.”
- The new group was presented with support from local authorities and the international non-governmental organization OXFAM.
- Youth from the organization criticized the neighborhood’s poor security and called for an end to fear among residents.
“Un Chef Antibalaka dépose les armes à Boy Rabe à Bangui.” Radio Ndeke Luka, 2 July 2015. In French.
- A corporal in the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) and Anti-balaka leader, Guy Mazimbélé, publicly laid down his weapons and renounced armed violence and banditry. During this ceremony, which was held in the presence of the Archbishop of Bangui in the Boy Rabe neighborhood, Mazimbélé turned over seven weapons to the Minister of National Defense, Marie Koyara said that this is an encouraging sign and may hasten the return of security to the Boy Rabe neighborhood.
The news coverage this week again highlights several of the security and institutional challenges facing the Central African Republic. While electoral preparations are a positive step forward in the post-conflict transition period, they have been routinely hindered by a lack of funding, insecurity in Bangui, and the challenge of sensitizing voters in an environment with poor infrastructure. Low-level violence and insecurity also continues outside Bangui, particularly in the north and east of the country, threatening human security and posing a potential challenge for election and transitional justice activities.