Friday 11 December 2020

Reflections on my time in Central African Republic

When I accepted a posting to Central African Republic (CAR) in 2018, a friend asked what I had done wrong to be sent here. From what I had heard, the road ahead seemed like it would be a long one.
I worked in Bertoua in the East of Cameroon in 2016, with refugees from CAR. At the time, I made a mental note not to accept a posting here, were it ever to be an option, because of the horror stories I heard.

I had no expectations whatsoever, the predominant feeling was uncertainty. These are my last days here and I am uncertain how I managed to last for 21 months! It has been quite the roller coaster and those curves have been just like the sharp twists and turns of an actual roller coaster.

Central African Republic celebrated its' 60th year of independence on August 13th 2020 which got me reflecting. To give a back ground to things, in 2013, a mostly Muslim coalition violently ousted the government. Some months later, a Christian militia sprung up to resist the Muslim group. It went further as the Christian group carried out attacks around the West of the country against Muslim communities. This degenerated and clashes between groups and against civilians continues to raise concerns. About 80% of the country is controlled by armed groups and attacks against civilians are still recurrent. 
A peace agreement was signed in 2019 between the government and 14 armed groups, but the road to implementing and respecting this agreement is a long one.