Mediated by the African Union, the Central African Republic (CAR) government will hold peace talks with 14 militia groups today in Khartoum, Sudan.
Frustrated by the CAR’s high unemployment, a 37% literacy rate and a corrupt ruling class, Islamic militias toppled CAR President Francois Bozize six years ago. Since then, sectarian human rights violations led by Christian and Muslim militias has engulfed the country.
Under pressure from human rights groups, the government is unlikely to concede to the militias’ demands for amnesty.
With 80% of CAR controlled by militias competing for its wealth of gold, uranium and diamonds, 1.2 million people have either fled the country or are internally displaced. Just this month Muslim militias invaded Bakouma, a uranium-rich town, burning 90% of homes. Instead of CAR’s natural resources offering economic opportunity for African countries, the country presents a huge refugee burden, especially for neighbouring Chad.
With the militias having such a strong foot hold in the country and the government refusing amnesty, do not any expect any major outcomes from the talks, which could even stall.
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Saira is an analyst in the Current Developments team, where she focuses her research on the Middle East and North Africa region.