After seven months, unsurprisingly, two of the three special military advisers, Mahamat al-Khatim of the Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC) rebel group, and Abbas Sidiki of Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) – resigned when they discovered that the positions were empty grenades and lacked authority or funding. The third, the leader of the Union for Peace in the Centre of the World (AlDarssa), did not resign from his post, but took advantage of his status to continue the operations of his armed group, extend its territorial control and continue the arms trade. During this period, the peace agreement was further undermined by the constant attacks on civilians and fighting between signatory groups, notably between the Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC) and the Movement of Central African Justice Liberators (MLCJ) in Vakaga Prefecture. Community leaders and rebel leaders from the north of the Central African Republic (CAR) are taking part in peace and reconciliation talks on Tuesday ahead of the December 27 presidential election, according to the UN mission in the country. The AU and the UN have not responded publicly to the notice or references to measures. Human rights groups are calling for those who violate the peace agreement – killing men, women and children on the streets – to be held accountable. The agreement was seen as the most serious offer of peace mediation since the current crisis began in 2013. The experts` results come as the country prepares for elections. The head of the European Union delegation drew attention above all to the determination of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra and his government. “So far, all parties concerned should recognize that, despite its shortcomings, the Bangui agreement remains the only common and viable framework for peace,” he said, calling for the government and peace agreement mediators to seriously consider imposing sanctions on “spoilers.” Sidiki Abbas reportedly threatened to withdraw from the peace agreement if prosecutors came after him. These fears are reinforced by the return to Bangui of two of the main players in the 2013-2015 crisis – President Bozizé and the man who overthrew him, President Djotodia – with many questions about their intentions to run for president or to re-mobilize the armed actors who fought for them.
While a statement was issued after President Touadéra met with former heads of state and stressed a common commitment to peace and reconciliation, a new opposition political coalition, led by second place in the 2016 presidential elections and former Prime Minister Anicet-Georges Dologuélé, will increase competition. “The signatory armed groups must tell us what it takes to honour their commitment to this peace agreement. We will have to find a solution before the elections,” he stressed. There are concrete steps that can help turn the peace agreement into useful measures for children: “The signing of an agreement is expected at the end of the talks that followed the talks that began a few months ago in the far north of the country between the belligerents,” said Kazagui. Let us therefore make it clear, in the spirit of the SRSG`s request for honesty, that the peace agreement is on fragile ground. The actors may still be involved in the technical mechanisms of the agreement, but they have proved insufficient to get the signatory parties to actually implement the commitments they made in Khartoum a year ago. In addition to the growing threat of sanctioning armed signatories who continue to flagrantly violate the terms of the agreement, the pressure on the government and the packaging of certain support packages (i.e. the extension of state authority and the extension of the army) should also be examined.