Central African Republic-Chad: will ECCAS succeed in defusing the Bozizé bomb?

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A summit of heads of state and government of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) could be held by next December, we learn from this regional institution in order to rule on the political situation, economic and security situation in the region, with the socio-political crisis in the Central African Republic at the center of the debate.

Beyond bombastic diplomatic language, relations between the Central African Republic and Chad are far from being in good shape. Reports have been strained for several years, but revived in recent weeks since the former Central African head of state François Bozizé Yangouvonda, also proclaimed leader of the rebellion of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) installed his neighborhood general in Ndjamena. A presence in the Chadian capital that is not reassuring for Bangui, which fears acts of destabilization from Chad, especially as the territories of the two neighboring countries which share a long land border have often served on both sides as a rear base for movements. rebels.

According to our information, the Central African authorities, although officially informed by their Chadian counterparts of the presence of General Bozizé on their territory, are impatient to see this rebel leader being very far from the Central African Republic. Pressure also exerted on Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço in his capacity as mediator in the Central African crisis on behalf of ECCAS and current president of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). Concurring sources say he would have pushed with all his weight for the Military Transitional Committee (CMT) to agree to welcome François Bozizé to Ndjamena. Indeed, “our region does not need another crisis to erupt between the countries of the region, which is why a solution must be quickly found to prevent the Central African Republic and Chad from sinking into a crisis”, confided a source close to the file.

The arrival of Bozizé in Chad last June where a residence was set up for him and some of his lieutenants comes following a counter-offensive led by the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) supported by Russian soldiers, where the rebel leader is said to have escaped in extremis to be arrested in his stronghold of Bossangoua in the North-West. While some sources announced him as injured, he would first take refuge in Moundou in southern Chad, before settling his bags in Ndjamena.

Following the invalidation of his candidacy for the presidential election on December 27, 2020 by the Constitutional Court, the former president took the head of half a dozen armed factions. On January 13, 2021, he narrowly failed to overthrow President Faustin Archange Touadéra during a rebel raid on Bangui. François Bozizé came to power after the coup d’état of March 15, 2003 against the democratic president-elect Ange Félix Patassé, of which he was the Chief of Staff. He in turn was overthrown on March 24, 2013 by the rebel coalition of the Seleka before fleeing to Cameroon. After spending some time there in an opulent villa fitted out for this purpose by Yaoundé with support due to his rank, the Cameroonian authorities will force him to go into exile because of his propensity to destabilize the institutions of his country and he will surrender in Uganda.

A fiery and bellicose past that worries Bangui and does not plead for its presence in neighboring Chad.

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