Dossier: The Central African crisis or a big plot against a whole people ….

In a 190-page report released on 5 December 2016, the United Nations Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic highlighted the existence of economic predation systems that fuel instability in the country. In addition to the struggles of the many rebel factions to control the transport routes of the country’s weapons and natural resources such as gold and diamonds, the panel of experts reveals the existence of control mechanisms and Illegal wealth held by militias, often with the complicity of the authorities.
Illegal taxes
In the eastern regions of the capital, Bangui, controlled by anti-balaka militia, the militias have in particular established illegal controls to tax fishermen and vessels carrying goods and passengers on the Oubangui River. The Panel notes that « such illegal taxes increase the price of goods and are accompanied by physical assaults, torture and rape against passengers ». The report also points out that in the west of the country « anti-balaka extorts money from Muslims who wish to return from their exile by imposing security services ».
Since river traffic was suspended in March 2016, the number of checkpoints between Bangui and the town of Kouango in the south-central part of the country was reduced from 9 to 3. Gendarmes were mobilized to put an end to these practice. The panel of experts notes, however, that « various sources have said that far from preventing this illegal imposition, the gendarmes were doing it themselves. »
Weapons Trafficking
Moreover, the fate of the Vakaga region in the north of the country is of particular concern to UN experts. Several localities in this zone remain under the exclusive control of the rebel group of the Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC). « In the areas it controls, the FPRC continues to defy state authority by introducing illegal security controls and imposing curfews in the Vakaga prefecture and reaffirming its opposition to the deployment of the Forces Central African Armed Forces (FACA) « . Since returning to the Central African Republic, Nuremedi Adam’s ex-number two is living in the Sikiked region of western Vakaga prefecture. « In 2016, he would have traveled to Birao and to the three-city town of Tissi, where he had recruited about 100 fighters, mainly Sudanese, » the report said.
In addition, the town of Tissi is frequently cited as the center for the supply of arms and ammunition to former Selika groups and criminal gangs. « Thus, FPRC soldiers armed with weapons of war and dressed in brand new military uniforms were recently seen in Ndélé. According to several sources, Nourredine Adam organized, in June 2016, a delivery of arms, which would have been transported by three trucks of commercial transport from Tissi to Ndélé and Kaga Bandoro.
The business of the authorities
The report also mentions several examples of current and former high-ranking state figures involved in transactions that do not comply with the sanctions regime imposed on them. The case of Mahamat Nour Binyamine is cited in particular. Central African Republic resident in the United States, the latter would be responsible for collecting the rents of buildings and houses belonging to Michel Djotodia, former President of the Republic and former leader of the FPRC. « In July 2016, Binyamine acted as an intermediary in the sale to a private contractor of a land located in Bangui and belonging to Djotodia. On August 29, the contractor made a transfer totaling CFAF 25 million (US $ 50,000) to Binyamine’s account, which withdrew that amount on the same day with a check. « The Panel notes that » the United States has frozen Djotodia’s assets since May 13, 2014, and Binyamine, as a US resident, may well make transactions or hold funds owned by Djotodia in the United States  » , In violation of the sanctions regime.
Another personality quoted in the report, Abdoulaye Hissène, one of the main leaders of the FPRC and former collector of diamonds and gold. He resumed his commercial activities after leaving in August 2014 as Minister of Youth and Sports under the presidency of Catherine Samba Panza. By September 2014, Hissène has entered into a contract of sale with an Indian investor for 300 kilograms of gold for a total amount of $ 9.9 million. The Panel stated that it had no proof of performance of the contract but pointed out that « Hissène did not have an export permit for minerals – neither as a cooperative nor as a buying house ».
Blood Diamonds
Another source of income is the illicit diamond trade in the Central African Republic. On May 28, 2016, the Special Anti-Fraud Unit confiscated some 550 carats of undeclared diamonds from Collector Mahamat Nour and his brother Mahamat Moustapha when they landed a flight from MINAIR from the mining town of Bria Center of the country. « They were accompanied by an Israeli collector, Youri Freund, and an associate. Nour and Freund were suspected not only of buying contraband diamonds but also of falsifying documents to obtain Freund’s license as a collector, « notes the report. Some of the diamond traffic coming from Bria is likely to pass through Bangui, but some would also be transported by land to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Other localities, mainly in eastern Cameroon, including Kenzou, Batouri and Bertoua, are known to be the main hubs of diamond traffic from the Central African Republic. However, Cameroon’s exports declined from 2,619 carats During the first ten months of 2015, to 1,494 carats during the same period of 2016, « suggesting that the illicit infiltration of Central African diamonds into official trade remains limited ».
Black Gold
Lastly, the site recalls, in an article devoted to the report of the expert panel, that the latter had revealed, mid 2016 the signing of a financial agreement between a private security company called FIT Protection (FIT-P) And the armed group of the Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC). The FIT-P company then recruited security agents from the Seleka factions to protect the investment and oil exploration carried out by the Chinese company PTIAL International Petroleum.
Panel Coordinator Ruben De Koning then declared that « FIT-P has hired FPRC leaders, who are still part of the rebellion, and the salaries of the guards paid were recovered by these leaders. » He also states that « although Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadera questioned these security agreements in the media, in fact the Minister of Defense has still not revoked the authorization to carry arms To the elements recruited by the FIT P company and which had been issued in April 2016 « 

Provided by: Mondafrique


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