The Central African Republic is yet another African country that is rife with instability years after gaining independence. Two men who undoubtedly played a part in fostering the said instability have got what some would see as their just rewards as the United States had their names added to its sanctions list.
CAR got its independence from France in 1960 but a heightened period of instability occurred in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power despite the fact that the country was a majority Christian country.
In a retaliatory bid, a band of mostly Christian militias called anti-balaka rose up to challenge the Seleka. The Seleka finally relinquished power to an interim government. Catherine Samba-Panza became the interim President of CAR after serious international pressure in 2014.
Months of intense violence followed, ending in a partitioning of the Central African Republic despite the presence of UN peacekeepers and a French mission.
On Wednesday, the United States of America added two militia leaders in the Central African Republic (CAR) to its sanctions list, accusing them of playing significant roles in their country’s unrest.
The two militia leaders are Abdoulaye Hissene, the former chief of the Muslim-majority Seleka movement and Maxime Mokom, a figure in the anti-Balaka Christian militias.
Under Abdoulaye Hissene’s leadership, the Muslim-majority Seleka movement forced out president Francois Bozize in 2013, ushering in a three-year civil war. Maxime Mokom was influential in the group that waged a counter-insurgency following the coup. The two conflicts led to the death of thousands and caused massive population displacement.
Individuals on the US sanctions lists will have any US assets frozen and American individuals or companies will be barred from doing any business with them. The head of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, John Smith, said in the statement;
“The individuals designated today are responsible for prolonged instability in the Central African Republic,”
Washington also alleges that the two militia leaders grouped their forces together to upset a constitutional referendum in 2015 and may have sought to undermine the authority of President Faustin-Archange Touadera who took power last year.