Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Central African Republic Control Map & Timeline - July 2021

There are newer versions of this map available. To see them, view all Central African Republic articles on PolGeoNow. 

We've revived and relaunched our coverage of territorial control in the Central African Republic, one of PolGeoNow's original areas of reporting from back in 2013. The timeline in this article covers the entire period from then up to now, and going forward, our newly-redesigned map will be updated as needed. To ensure your access to future updates, sign up for our conflict mapping service.

Central African Republic conflict: 2021 map of rebel and government control. Updated to July 16, 2021, showing territorial control by the CAR government, CPC rebel coalition (FPRC, MPC, 3R),  other ex-Séléka rebels (UPC, RPRC, MLCJ), Anti-balaka militias, and other armed groups such as Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Colorblind accessible.
Map by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic. Terrain data sourced from ViewFinderPanoramas.
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Timeline by Djordje Djukic and Evan Centanni

Who controls the Central African Republic in 2021?

Since PolGeoNow's last coverage of rebel control in the Central African Republic back in 2013, the country's civil war has continued all the way until today, but with some major reconfigurations. The Séléka rebel coalition, officially disbanded after it took over the country's government in 2013, has undergone a long series of fragmentations and reconstitutions since stepping down from full control of the country in 2014. Perhaps more surprisingly, many of the ex-Séléka groups have teamed up with their once-bitter enemies - militias of the Anti-balaka movement - to form a unified front against the country's internationally-backed government, which sees both of them as unwelcome rogue elements.

The current incarnation of that alliance, known as the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), was formed late last year in an attempt to disrupt national elections from which the groups' favored candidates had been locked out. After initially consolidating its control over most of the CAR and advancing again towards the capital, the tide has since turned against the CPC. After several months on the offensive, the CAR military and its allies - Rwandan soldiers and Russian mercenaries, with UN peacekeepers sometimes assisting - the country's recognized government now controls more territory than it has at any time since before the war began in 2012.

Central African Republic Civil War Timeline: 2012-2021

The following is a timeline of territorial control changes and key political and military events in the Central African Republic's current civil war, from the war's beginning in 2012 up to the present. It includes a summary of events already covered in our previous CAR control map series from 2013. Information gathered directly from news media and other online sources is indicated by in-line links to the source materials. Additional reporting is sourced through the ACLED conflict database (see footnote for full citation), and is indicated in the text by the “(ACLED)” label.

Note: Most armed groups in the CAR, including international peacekeeping forces, are named in French. In this timeline, we translate such groups' full names into English, but retain their French-based acronyms, as is common practice in English-language media. For this reason, the acronyms used for the groups generally don't correspond the words of their English names.

Prologue: November 2004 - April 2007
Between November 2004 and April 2007, the Central African Republic Bush War raged between the central government of François Bozizé, who had seized control of the country in 2003, and various rebel groups, including the UFDR, APRD, GAPLC, FDC, and UFR. The leader of the largest rebel group was Michel Djotodia. The conflict ended in April 2007 with the signing of the Birao Peace Agreement.

August-September 2012
Following the signing of another peace agreement between the government and the CPJP rebel group, the last major holdout from the Bush War, a counter-agreement was reached between a dissident faction of the CPJP and the CPSK militia to oppose the deal. The following month, the CPJP, CPSK, and other armed groups formed a rebel coalition called Séléka and launched attacks on three towns.

The rebel groups appeared to be motivated by a number of economic and political grievances against the CAR government, and though they came mainly from among the Muslim part of the country’s population (with a minority from Chad and Sudan), they didn't claim or attempt to enact any kind of religious agenda.

December 10-25, 2012
On December 10, 2012, the rebels seized the towns of N'Délé, Sam Ouandja, and Ouadda. By December 18, they had also captured Bamingui and Bria. The next day, the rebels captured the town of Kabo, while it was confirmed that 2,000 Chadian troops had arrived in the CAR to support the government. Still, rebel advances continued, and between December 23 and 25 the rebels seized Bambari, the country’s third largest town, as well as Kaga-Bandoro.

December 28, 2012
The CAR government requested assistance from France and the United States as the number of towns captured by the rebels increased to ten. However, France rejected the request, while the US evacuated its embassy in Bangui and temporarily halted its operations. Meanwhile, the commander of the Multinational Force for Central Africa (FOMAC), an international peacekeeping organization formed by the Economic Community of Central African States, stated that its troops had “fully secured” the national capital city of Bangui. Elsewhere, a government counterattack against Bambari was repelled by Séléka fighters.

Central African Republic civil war: Map of Séléka rebel advances in December 2012
Séléka's rapid advance in December 2012. Click for original article and full-size map.
December 29, 2012
The rebels captured Sibut, near the country's center, northeast of Bangui.

December 30, 2012 - January 11, 2013
CAR president François Bozizé stated that he was ready to share power with the rebels. Subsequently, the rebels halted their advance so negotiations could take place. Twelve days later, the government signed a peace agreement with Séléka under which a national unity government would be formed. During the same period, South Africa sent 400 troops to the CAR to support the government.

January 23, 2013
The government accused the Séléka rebels of breaking the terms of the ceasefire agreement by entering several towns and vandalizing government buildings.

February 2013
As part of the peace agreement, rebel leader Michel Djotodia was named First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for National Defence of the Government of National Unity.

March 1, 2013
Rebel forces took over Sido, on the border with Chad, despite the peace agreement.

March 12, 2013
The rebels seized the southeastern towns of Rafaï and Bangassou.

March 18, 2013
Rebel forces captured Gambo, west of Bangassou.

March 21-22, 2013
Séléka accused the government of failing to honor the terms of the January peace agreement, even as its own fighters captured the towns of Bouca and Batangafo in the north. The next day, they seized the larger town of Bossangoa, also advancing through Damara and up to the outskirts of the national capital, Bangui. In Damara, the rebels had broken through a checkpoint where some 500 FOMAC peacekeepers were based. An advance on the capital was briefly halted when a government helicopter fired on a Séléka column.
Central African Republic civil war: Map of Séléka's advance into capital city Bangui in March 2013
Séléka proceeds to capture the CAR's national capital. Click for original article and full-size map.

March 23-24, 2013
The rebels entered the northern suburbs of Bangui as they shot down a government attack helicopter. By the next day, the city’s presidential palace was taken by Séléka, even as France deployed 350 soldiers to ensure the security of French and other foreign nationals, bringing its total number of troops in the CAR to nearly 600. By the end of the day, the capital was considered to be under rebel control, and widespread looting erupted. President François Bozizé fled across the border to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

March 28, 2013
In “a form of surrender”, chiefs of police, gendarmes, the head of the CAR armed forces, and other senior army officers pledged allegiance to Séléka leader Michel Djotodia.

April 1, 2013
Djotodia declared himself defense minister and president of the country.

April 2, 2013
It was reported that most South African troops had been withdrawn from the Central African Republic, with only 20 remaining in the capital. During the fighting with the rebels over the previous months, 13 South African soldiers had been killed.

April 13, 2013
The CAR’s national transitional council elected Michel Djotodia as interim president. Djotodia stated that he would hold elections within 18 months.

April 2013
The Ugandan army suspended its search within the CAR for the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group, Joseph Kony, due to "hostility" from the Djotodia government. In April of the previous year, the Ugandan contingent had said it believed Kony to be hiding in the central part of Haut-Mbomou province, northwest of Obo.

August 18, 2013
Michel Djotodia was sworn in as president of the CAR.

September 13, 2013
President Djotodia formally dissolved the Séléka rebel coalition that he had led.

December 5-6, 2013
Between 400 and 1,000 people were killed in Bangui as militias associated with the “Anti-balaka” movement, formed in the previous months to defend against - or exact revenge for - Séléka atrocities, started attacking Muslims in the city. Anti-balaka was made up mostly of Christians and other non-Muslims, many of whom saw Séléka as a vindication of their suspicions towards the country’s Muslim population and immigrants from neighboring countries.

In reprisal, former Séléka fighters attacked Christians in Bossangoa, leading to an Anti-balaka counterattack and capture of the town, the beginning of a spiral into sectarian violence between Muslim and Christian communities around the country. 

Around the same time, the UN Security Council authorized the African Union (AU) and France to intervene in response to the situation, with France then deploying more than 1,000 troops to the CAR. The AU force, known as the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), was built from the pre-existing FOMAC regional force, and would eventually include about 5,000 soldiers and 600 police, mainly from Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Rwanda.

December 10, 2013
Two French soldiers were killed in fighting in Bangui.

December 12, 2013
The confirmed number of people killed in Bangui was cited as 450, while 160 were also reported killed in other parts of the country.

January 8, 2014
Ex-Séléka forces withdrew from Boyali north of the capital, after which Anti-balaka fighters attacked the town, executing 47 Muslims. Subsequently, ex-Séléka fighters returned and retaliated against the Christian population, executing people and burning 961 homes.

January 10-20, 2014
President Michel Djotodia and his prime minister, Nicolas Tiangaye, resigned. The speaker of parliament, Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, became acting president. Ten days later, Bangui mayor Catherine Samba-Panza was elected by the parliament as interim president of the CAR.

January 13-18, 2014
Ex-Séléka forces withdrew from Bozoum and three other towns, clearing the way for Anti-balaka attacks on the Muslim population in the towns.

January 24, 2014
Revolution and Justice (RJ), an anti-Séléka armed group formed in 2013, separate from Anti-balaka, seized Markounda, Paoua, and one other northwestern town from ex-Séléka forces.

January 27-29, 2014
Séléka leaders left Bangui escorted by Chadian peacekeepers. The next day, ex-Séléka fighters were also escorted out of a military camp in the capital to another camp outside the city. On January 29, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of 500 European Union peacekeepers to the CAR.

January 29 - February 2, 2014
Ex-Séléka forces withdrew from the major southwestern towns of Boda, Berbérati, Carnot, and Sibut. These withdrawals were again usually followed by Anti-balaka attacks on local Muslims, who then retaliated against Christians. Human Rights Watch reported that ex-Séléka forces tortured and killed civilians in and around Sibut during January while they were regrouping.

February 25, 2014
A French soldier was killed in a road accident in Bangui.

March 10, 2014
Anti-balaka forces entered the Bayanga area of far southwestern CAR, looting and burning Muslim homes, and were still present in the area as of the end of the month.

April 10, 2014
The UN Security Council approved the formation of a 11,800-strong peacekeeping force for the CAR, to be built upon the AU force, MISCA, which was about half that size. The new peacekeeping force would be named the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

April 13, 2014
Chad withdrew its troops from the CAR after accusations that it was supporting Séléka.

April 22, 2014
Ex-Séléka forces captured Bouca, near the country’s center, from Anti-balaka militias.

May 1, 2014
Ex-Séléka forces recaptured Markounda from RJ.

Late May 2014
Forces of the recently-reconstituted CAR military seized Bayanga from Anti-balaka.

June 24, 2014
Anti-balaka fighters attacked Bambari, killing 46 people.

June 26, 2014
International forces withdrew from Birao following an ultimatum from ex-Séléka leaders.

July 10, 2014
Former leaders of Séléka, meeting in Birao, agreed to reconstitute the rebel alliance under the new name Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC).

July 13, 2014
Michel Djotodia was named the leader of the FPRC.

July 23, 2014
A ceasefire agreement was signed in Brazzaville, Congo (not shown on map) by negotiators representing the FPRC, Anti-balaka, RJ, the loosely-Séléka-aligned FDPC and MLCJ rebel forces, and two less-prominent armed groups. Despite the agreement, fighting was reportedly continuing in Bambari.

July 30 - August 9, 2014
Fighting erupted in Batangafo between Anti-balaka and unspecified ex-Séléka forces. Subsequently, on August 4, French forces fought and defeated ex-Séléka fighters in Batangafo, but following the arrival of rebel reinforcements, the French withdrew from the town on August 9, leaving it under ex-Séléka control.

September 17, 2014
Following demands for independence for CAR’s Muslim-majority north from Noureddine Adam, one of the FPRC’s top leaders on the ground, fellow ex-Séléka leader Ali Darassa split off from the FPRC to form the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC). UPC forces were dominant in and around Bambari, while the FPRC’s capital was in Bria.

October 2014
A former rebel leader founded a new group called Séléka Rénovée (“Séléka Updated”), which called for “peace and reconciliation between Muslims and non-Muslims”. Though typically listed as one of the country’s armed groups, a 2017 report said it had no combatants on the ground. A 2018 report would describe it as having a “low number of combatants,” with its leader based in France.

November 2014
Another FPRC breakaway force, the Patriotic Rally for the Renewal of the Central African Republic (RPRC) was formed from a faction largely consisting of members of the Goula ethnic group, under the leadership of Zacharia Damane. It would dominate the Sam Ouandja and Ouadda areas in the northeastern CAR, with its area of operations extending south to Bria and north to Tiringoulou.

Flag of the Central African Republic Country Name:  
• Central African Republic (English)
• Centrafrique (French)
• Bêafrîka (Sango)
Official Name:  
• Central African Republic (English)
• République centrafricaine (French)
• Ködörösêse tî Bêafrîka (Sango)
Capital: Bangui

January-April 2015
A peace agreement was negotiated in Nairobi, Kenya (not shown on map) between the FPRC, backed by former president Michel Djotodia, and a newly-independent faction of the Anti-balaka leadership, led by Maxime Mokom and backed by former president François Bozizé. Within about three months, the former enemies had joined together in what would be called the Alliance of the Nairobists. The talks and their results were not supported or recognized by the CAR government.

Though Mokom and rival leader Patrice Ngaïssona claimed to represent the larger Anti-balaka movement through their two “coordination branches”, their influence over actual armed units on the ground was mixed and ever-changing.

May 2015
A long-planned, internationally-supported, and government-backed political forum was held in Bangui to build a foundation for the country’s future governance and set the stage for elections later in the year. This so-called Bangui Forum brought together hundreds of delegates representing local government, regular citizens, politicians, government and military officials, rebel groups, and civil society organizations.

July 2015
Yet another FPRC breakaway group, the Central African Patriotic Movement (MPC), was formed under the leadership of Mahamat Al Khatim, an Arab with ties to the neighboring country of Chad. Its area of influence initially covered large parts of Nana-Grébizi and Ouham provinces, including the towns of Kaga-Bandoro, Batangafo, and Kabo.

December 15, 2015
FPRC leader Noureddine Adam rejected participation in national elections and declared an autonomous state based in Kaga-Bandoro, which he called the Republic of Logone. The purported republic, which Adam clarified was not yet an independent country, would also come to be called Dar El Kuti or Dar Al-Kuti, after a historical country that had governed the area from about 1830 to 1917.

December 30, 2015
A first round of new general elections were held in the CAR, with no candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote.

December 2015
A new armed group, named Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R or RRR), was formed near the northwestern town of Koui. Its leaders had ties to people from Cameroon, and its agenda was purportedly to defend Muslim Fulani people from Anti-balaka and RJ.

February 14, 2016
Former Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Touadéra won the second round of the presidential elections with 63% of votes cast.

March 18, 2016
The diamond producing area of Berbérati in southwestern CAR was reported to be under firm government control.

March 30, 2016
Touadéra was sworn in as president.

April 6, 2016
In recognition of the country’s completion of new elections, the African Union (AU) lifted its suspension of the CAR’s membership, which had been in place since soon after Séléka took over Bangui and installed Michel Djotodia as president in 2013. The country would also be reinstated as a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the global club of French-speaking countries.

June 8, 2016
A peace agreement was signed between the FPRC, UPC, MPC, and the local branch of Anti-balaka in the central town of Mbrès.

September 27, 2016
Rebels of 3R captured Koui town, killing 17 civilians. Meanwhile, the southwestern towns of Boda, Carnot, and Nola were reported to be under government control.

October 30, 2016
France ended its primary military operation in the CAR, withdrawing 2,000 troops, while some 350 would remain to provide support for the UN’s MINUSCA peacekeeping force.

October 2016
In the aftermath of the elections, which had seen most of the rebel groups excluded from the new government, the RPRC answered a call by the FPRC to form a new alliance, joining the Nairobists. Later the same month, the MPC also joined, and the FPRC, RPRC, MPC, and Mokom wing of Anti-balaka formed what they called “the Coalition”. The MLCJ participated unofficially through the RPRC, with which it was later said to have “unofficially merged”. The UPC declined an invitation to join.

November 2016
A new conflict broke out among the major rebel groups, with the FPRC-led Coalition going to war against the UPC. The fighting was apparently fueled by fears from the quasi-separatist FPRC and allies that the non-separatist UPC had grown close to the CAR government, as well as concern over its apparent expansionist policy in the southeast. Meanwhile, it was claimed that the Coalition was backed by the Chadian government, which was wary of the UPC because of the group’s ties Chadian anti-government rebels.

November 30, 2016 - January 11, 2017
The FPRC temporarily captured Bakala, near the center of the country, from the UPC before the UPC retook the town two days later. More than a month afterwards, the FPRC once again seized Bakala.

January 2017
The MPC’s Bangui-based political bureau cut ties with the group’s fighters in a rejection of their alliance with the FPRC-led Coalition. However, the two wings were believed to have tentatively reunited by later in the year.

February 4, 2017
Kpokpo village southeast of Bria was looted and torched by the UPC, reportedly in retaliation for a cattle raid by FPRC fighters and the village’s residents near Nzacko. Later, it was reported that a roadblock had been set up at the village manned by both MPC and FPRC fighters.

February 11, 2017
A UN attack helicopter fired on FPRC fighters who were advancing on the UPC stronghold of Bambari, killing FPRC chief of staff Joseph Zonduko and three civilians.

February 15, 2017
A new overview report concluded that at least 14 armed groups were vying for control in various parts of the CAR, with four ex-Séléka groups (the FPRC, UPC, MPC, and RPRC) in control of 60% of the country.

February 22, 2017
UPC leader Ali Darassa and some of his forces withdrew from Bambari as UN forces secured the city against attacks on civilians. Anti-balaka leaders also withdrew from the town soon afterwards. However, a series of tit-for-tat attacks between the two armed groups would bring them back into the city on and off during the following year.

April 19, 2017
The Ugandan military, and the anti-LRA African Union Taskforce dominated by it, started withdrawing from the CAR after nine years of attempting to hunt down rebel leader Joseph Kony.

The LRA had been greatly weakened in the CAR by the Taskforce’s activities over the past year or two, despite launching a surge of attacks in 2016, with only three “main cells” remaining operational in the country. Of these, three were dispersed across remote areas of Haute-Kotto and Haute-Mbomou provinces, with links to a base outside the CAR in the Kafia Kingi territory (disputed between Sudan and South Sudan). A fourth cell had reportedly lost contact with Kony and was “operating in survival mode” along the CAR’s southern border.

May 7-9, 2017
Fighting between the UPC and Anti-balaka in the southeastern town of Alindao reportedly left up to 100 people dead. The UPC eventually repelled the Anti-balaka forces.

May 13-15, 2017
Alleged Anti-balaka fighters launched attacks on Muslim communities in the southeastern town of Bangassou, pushing back UN peacekeepers from strategic positions. Two days later, the MINUSCA forces had managed to recapture the town, having lost six of their personnel during a week of fighting in the country. Red Cross workers would subsequently discover 115 bodies in Bangassou. A senior UN official had previously reported that 26 civilians were killed in the attacks.

The armed group attacking Bangassou was apparently one of a new set of so-called “self-defense groups” that Anti-balaka leadership claimed were not affiliated with it. However, those claims were widely dismissed, and analysts said the evidence pointed to these groups having been deliberately set up by the same forces behind the Anti-balaka movement. The Bangassou attack may also have been connected to the Coalition’s larger war against the UPC, which claims to represent the targeted southern Muslim communities.

May 18-19, 2017
At least 36 people were killed in fighting between Anti-balaka and unspecified ex-Séléka forces in the eastern town of Bria.

June 2017
A faction of the MPC split off from the group’s leadership in a rejection of the Coalition’s participation in violence against Muslim civilians. The new group, which called itself MPC Siriri, was reported to be based in Bangui and Kaga-Bandoro, but no information was available on whether it held sole control of any areas.

Meanwhile, infighting broke out between the FPRC and its close ally the RPRC - apparently over inter-ethnic conflicts similarly related to the FPRC’s alliance with Anti-balaka groups - leading the RPRC to begin distancing itself from the FPRC politically.

June 11, 2017
The FPRC captured Nzacko, southeast of Bria, from Anti-balaka fighters.

June 19, 2017
A new peace agreement was signed in Rome by the CAR government and all the country’s major armed groups except 3R, after being negotiated by the Catholic Church-affiliated Sant’ Egidio peacemaking organization. However, the agreed-upon ceasefire would be broken “almost immediately”.

June 28, 2017
Ugandan forces withdrew from Zemio in the far southeast, after which attacks by local Muslim militias - part of a new spiral of sectarian violence sparked by the May attack on Bangassou - left 28 civilians dead.

August 2017
In one of the new sectarian conflict’s most deadly incidents, a UPC unit killed “at least 45 civilians, including 10 Red Cross workers,” in an attack on a health center in Gambo.

Meanwhile, an Anti-balaka leader in Bambari announced that his forces were splitting off from the movement’s Mokom coordination branch, forming a new group called the Rally of Republicans (RDR). However, he would be killed four months later.

September 18, 2017
Peacekeepers were deployed to the Anti-balaka-held city of Bouar in the country’s west.

September 23, 2017
The 3R group captured Bocaranga, in the far northwest, from Anti-balaka fighters.

October 2017
One of the MPC’s two founding generals, in command of the group’s operations in Paoua and areas to the north and west of there, split off and created a new armed group called the National Movement for the Central African Republic (MNLC). However, the new group apparently maintained close ties with the MPC proper.

The same month, the FPRC and MPC signed a peace deal with the UPC, effectively ending the Coalition’s war against the fellow ex-Séléka group. Their conflict had already mostly wound down several months earlier after UN forces disrupted FPRC advances on Bambari and the UPC redeployed to areas farther south and east.

November 2, 2017
Two “former Anti-balaka leaders” announced that they were splitting off from the Ngaïssona Anti-balaka coordination branch to form their own coordinating group, called the Self-Defense Combatant Leaders for Resistance (LCADR).

Late November 2017
The newly-formed MNLC assassinated one of RJ’s two rival leaders in retaliation for killings of cattle herders (the MNLC’s main constituent demographic). RJ had politically split into two factions in 2016, but continued to operate under a unified military command.

RJ and the MNLC/MPC, despite originating on opposite sides of the pro/anti-Séléka divide, had until now coexisted peacefully, even coordinating their economic activities and governing overlapping territories. However, tensions had been rising between them for months due to the MNLC’s growth in strength - reportedly due to reinforcements arriving from MPC-influenced areas in central CAR - while RJ was also believed to have received substantial military aid from supporters in Bangui.

December 2017
The MNLC and RJ went to war with each other over the killing of the RJ leader, with “intense clashes” reported between them in the Paoua area.

Also around the end of 2017, a new armed group was formed along the Cameroonian border, calling itself Siriri (no known relation to MPC Siriri), with the stated objective of protecting Muslim herders from Anti-balaka when returning to the CAR from Cameroon. The group was first founded around the town of Gamboula, with its area of operations eventually stretching north into southern Nana-Mambéré province, while it cultivated ties with 3R, the UPC, and fellow small local group the FDPC.

Meanwhile, 3R itself reportedly signed a truce with Anti-balaka groups in Bouar, promising it wouldn’t operate south of the Bouar-Beloko road.

January 12, 2018
UN peacekeepers took over the town of Paoua, pushing armed groups 50km (30mi) from the city in an effort to end the fighting between RJ and the MNLC/MPC. Newly-EU-trained CAR troops were also deployed in the town.

January 15, 2018
It was reported that Russian private military contractors (PMCs) of the Wagner Group were to be deployed to the Central African Republic after Russia successfully lobbied the United Nations Security Council to allow it to ship weapons and ammunition to the country.

January 30, 2018
RJ forces agreed to voluntarily disband as part of a national peace-building process. However, as of a year later, the group would still be somewhat active, with some of its fighters having “remobilized” amid frustrations over a claimed lack of government support.

March 3-6, 2018
The UPC captured the Rafaï area in the southeast. Two days later, it was recaptured by Anti-balaka fighters. As of three years later, it would apparently have a government security presence.

March 22, 2018
Russia sent five military and 170 “civilian” instructors to the CAR. The instructors were later confirmed to be Wagner Group PMCs who were sent to protect lucrative mines, support the government, and provide close protection to the CAR president.

May 8-9, 2018
The CAR military deployed in the central town of Sibut along with Russian military advisors.

May 28, 2018
The number of Russian PMCs in the CAR was reported to have reached 1,400.

May 2018
The RPRC formally reconciled with the UPC, several months after the FPRC and MPC had already done so.

Meanwhile, the MNLC announced that it was merging back into the MPC, then apparently signed an agreement to join the FPRC instead.

June 21, 2018
The CAR military deployed in Bangassou.

July 30, 2018
Three days after arriving in the CAR to investigate the Wagner Group’s activities in the country, three Russian journalists were killed in an ambush by unknown assailants. The authorities said they suspected rebels or thieves to be behind the killings. Despite there being nothing to contradict the official version of events, speculation continued, including that the killings were committed by the Wagner Group or even by France as a warning to Russia to stay clear of its area of influence (the CAR being a former French colony).

August 17, 2018
The CAR military deployed in the central town of Dekoa.

August 21, 2018
Russia signed a military cooperation agreement with the CAR government.

October 26, 2018
The national legislature voted to remove its speaker, Karim Meckassoua, allegedly for mismanaging finances, though he was also known as an outspoken opponent of President Touadéra. The removal of Meckassoua, a Muslim, was seen as an act of political oppression by many in the country, though his replacement, an ally of the president, was also a Muslim.

October 31 - November 6, 2018
An attack by MPC and FPRC forces on the northern town of Batangafo led to clashes with Anti-balaka fighters, leaving at least 15 people dead, 29 injured, and 20,000 homeless after the attackers destroyed camps housing people who had already fled violence elsewhere in the country.

November 15, 2018
Some 112 people were killed when the UPC attacked more displaced people’s camps in the southern town of Alindao, reportedly targeting Christians in retaliation for Anti-balaka attacks that had happened outside the town.

December 5, 2018
One year after its founding, it was announced that the Siriri rebel group, active in the western border region between Gamboula and Beloko, was merging with 3R.

December 30-31, 2018
The FPRC captured the southeastern town of Bakouma, which had been under Anti-balaka control for the previous two years. The UPC was also reportedly involved in the attack.

January 7, 2019
The CAR military took control of Bocaranga from 3R.

January 15, 2019
UN peacekeepers alongside Anti-balaka fighters pushed the FPRC out of Bakouma. At least 32 people had reportedly been killed during the two weeks that the town was under FPRC control.

January 29, 2019
The UPC opened fire on a funeral in Ippy, killing 18 civilians.

February 6, 2019
A new peace agreement was signed between the CAR government and 14 armed groups, including all the major ex-Séléka groups (FPRC, UPC, MPC, MLCJ, RPRC), 3R, both factions of RJ, two major branches of Anti-balaka, and several smaller groups. The deal, brokered by the African Union and supported by neighboring countries, included both political power-sharing promises and a plan for integration of rebel fighters into the national military.

March 2019
The leaders of the UPC, the MPC, and 3R were appointed as advisors to the prime minister as part of the process of integrating their groups into the CAR military, with many other rebels also granted posts in the new government - a move that many of their opponents saw as a step too far.

In any case, the rebel leaders retained control over their respective armed groups and territory - but with a new veneer of legitimacy - and over the next year it would become clear that the peace agreement had failed yet again, with ceasefire violations happening routinely.

April 5, 2019
UN forces seized FDPC positions in a town just southeast of Beloko, apparently the small rebel group’s last stronghold.

May 19, 2019
UPC forces seized a gold mine near Mingala town in the southeast (ACLED).

May 21, 2019
3R killed 46 civilians in an attack in Ouham-Pendé province.

June 8, 2019
The RJ armed group was “completely disarmed”, bringing its long process of demobilization to an end (ACLED).

July 2-4, 2019
Over 200 FDPC fighters - more or less the entire armed group - surrendered their weapons to the government as part of a push to demobilize and reintegrate rebel forces into the national military (ACLED).

September 1-14, 2019
The Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice (MLCJ) rebel group, until recently a close ally of the FPRC, attacked the larger group’s positions in Birao, capturing the town by the following day. The fighting left 23 FPRC and 8 MLCJ fighters dead. Subsequently, on September 14, the FPRC launched a counter-attack on Birao but was repelled. Another 37 FPRC and 11 MLCJ fighters were killed.

October 4, 2019
An MLCJ attack on the FPRC-held border town of Tissi was repelled.

October 14, 2019
The MLCJ took control of the border town of Am Dafok from the FPRC.

October 2019
The UPC expanded its control east along the southern border to Bambouti.

December 16, 2019
The FPRC recaptured Am Dafok from the MLCJ. Meanwhile, former president François Bozizé, now affiliated with Anti-Balaka, returned to the CAR from exile.

January 25-26, 2020
The MLCJ captured 60 percent of Bria from the FPRC.

February 1, 2020
The CAR military deployed in UPC-held Alindao.

February 5, 2020
The UPC announced it would withdraw from Bambouti. However, as of November 2020, it would still have a camp in the town.

February 17, 2020
An FPRC attack on UN peacekeepers and government troops in MLCJ-dominated Birao left 12 FPRC fighters dead.

March 2-18, 2020
Heavy fighting erupted in N'Délé between the FPRC and RPRC. After five days, the RPRC withdrew from the city. On March 11, the RPRC, reinforced by the MLCJ, attacked N'Délé and captured half the town. More than 40 civilians were killed in the fighting. One week later, it was reported that the FPRC was in control of N'Délé, while the RPRC controlled the surrounding villages.

April 6, 2020
Fighting was renewed for N'Délé as the RPRC attacked the town from four sides.

April 29, 2020
The RPRC and MLCJ once again attacked N'Délé, killing 37 civilians.

May 1-5, 2020
Along the border with Cameroon, 3R took control of a town east of its base near Beloko, but withdrew four days later.

May 9-20, 2020
The CAR military repelled a UPC attack on Obo in the far southeast, with 11 UPC fighters killed. Two more attacks were repelled on May 18 and May 20. During the May 20 battle, the military was supported by UN peacekeepers.

May 10-19, 2020
UN peacekeepers arrived in N'Délé to force the RPRC out of the town. Three days later, the CAR military also deployed to the town. On May 19, the peacekeepers arrested nine RPRC members, including General Azor Kalité, as they were trying to escape.

May 27, 2020
3R took control of a town halfway between Bocaranga and Paoua.

June 25, 2020
The MPC took control of three areas of Ouham province, including Markounda and Boguila, following the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers.

July 22-28, 2020
UN peacekeepers recaptured two towns from 3R northeast of Beloko, while the rebels seized a village near Ngaoundaye on the Chadian border.

August 11, 2020
The LRA was reported to be still present in jungle camps in the CAR, as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

August 17, 2020
The CAR military captured Koui from 3R.

September 19, 2020
3R captured four villages near Paoua.

September 27, 2020
3R took control of Boguila.

October 7, 2020
3R seized another area of Ouham province. Meanwhile, following an incursion by the LRA into a village about 20km (12mi) from Obo, the UPC rebels in the area pledged their allegiance to the LRA. Subsequently, LRA and UPC checkpoints were set up on the road between Obo and Bambouti.

November 19, 2020
The CAR military departed Bozoum under unclear circumstances, leaving it open to a potential 3R takeover. 3R was already occupying some towns within 80km (50mi), including at least one located to the northeast between Bozoum and Boguila.

November 23 - December 11, 2020
A “self-defense militia” from South Sudan reportedly attacked Bambouti in retaliation for a cross-border raid by UPC forces. In the following weeks, suspected Arab militiamen from Sudan attacked a town 100km (60mi) west of Birao, then another town halfway in between, possibly in relation to a year-old feud between Arabs and members of the Goula ethnic group in the border town of Tissi.

December 3, 2020
The country’s top court rejected François Bozizé's candidacy in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for December 27.

December 15, 2020
In the aftermath of Bozizé’s shutout from the presidential elections, his Anti-balaka supporters united with the country’s most prominent rebel groups to form the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC) in opposition to the Bangui government. The alliance was initially composed of the UPC, FPRC, 3R, MPC, and both the Mokom and Ngaïssona Anti-balaka coordination branches. Former president François Bozizé was named as the coalition’s leader. Combined, the CPC’s members controlled about two-thirds of the country at this point.

December 18-19, 2020
The CPC launched an advance towards Bangui from the northwest, capturing several towns after temporarily occupying Bozoum. François Bozizé was accused of attempting a coup - an accusation that his spokesman denied. Among the towns captured were Yaloké, Bossembélé, Boda, Mbaïki and one other. Subsequently, new fighting erupted in Mbaïki, where government forces were reportedly supported by Russian PMCs.

December 22-25, 2020
The CPC captured Bambari, the country’s fourth largest city. Boyali, near the capital, was also seized. In response, the government requested, as part of bilateral agreements, that Rwanda and Russia send assistance. Rwanda bolstered its peacekeeping forces in response, while Russia sent an additional 300 military instructors. At the same time, Russian and Rwandan “mercenaries” were reported to have deployed alongside the CAR military at Boyali. The next day, UN and government forces recaptured Bambari, while the CPC seized a southwestern town between Boda and Nola.

Subsequently, the CPC declared a 72-hour self-imposed ceasefire, which it called off on December 25. Fighting resumed in the eastern town of Bakouma as the CPC attempted to continue its advance down the main highways towards Bangui but was halted, according to the UN peacekeeping mission. During the same period, three Burundian UN peacekeepers were killed and two were wounded by unknown attackers in the central town of Dekoa.

December 27, 2020
President Touadéra won re-election during the first round of the general elections with 53% of votes cast, though turnout was only 35% due to the ongoing conflict. During the elections, 3R-dominated CPC rebels captured the western town of Bouar after government and UN forces reportedly withdrew, with CPC fighters also attacking the nearby city of Carnot.

December 28-29, 2020
The CPC captured Bakouma in the east, and Gamboula along the border with Cameroon.

December 30, 2020
CPC forces reportedly withdrew from Beloko, Carnot, Bozoum, and the eastern town of Bambari.

January 3, 2021
CPC rebels captured Bangassou in the southeast.

January 6, 2021
The CAR military recaptured a town southwest of Mbaïki, near Bangui, after killing 24 rebels. The town had been seized by CPC-affiliated Anti-balaka forces earlier in the week.

January 9, 2021
The CAR military and UN peacekeepers repelled a rebel attack on the western city of Bouar.

January 13, 2021
Around 200 rebels attacked Bangui, but were repelled. One Rwandan UN peacekeeper was killed in the fighting.

January 15, 2021
A Burundian UN peacekeeper was killed in an ambush, while two Bangladeshi peacekeepers were wounded, in a central town between Bambari and Sibut.

January 16-17, 2021
CPC rebels withdrew from Bangassou in the east (ahead of the arrival of pro-government reinforcements), but seized Bouar in the west once again.

January 18, 2021
Two MINUSCA soldiers, a Gabonese and a Moroccan, were killed fighting rebel forces near Bangassou, bringing the number of UN peacekeepers killed since the start of the rebel offensive in mid-December to seven. Later, it was reported that eight rebels and three peacekeepers had been killed.

January 23, 2021
CPC rebels captured the far-southeastern town of Zemio as they advanced towards Obo.

January 24-29, 2021
The CAR military recaptured Boda, Boyali and one other town northwest of Bangui. In the fighting in Boyali, 44 CPC rebels were killed, while the military was supported by Russian PMCs and Rwandan peacekeepers.

January 27, 2021
It was reported that, as of July 2020, Chad’s military was maintaining a military presence in the border town of Tissi.

February 4-26, 2021
The CAR military, still supported by Russian PMCs and Rwandan peacekeepers, recaptured the western towns of Bossembele, Bouar, Beloko, and Bossangoa. The CPC claimed to have killed several Wagner Group PMCs during the fighting near Bambari. The military also retook control of Yaloké, Ippy and Bozoum. Two towns near Bossangoa, two towns southeast of Bouar, one town east of Beloko and one town between Bakala and Ippy were also seized.

March 2021
The CAR military continued to advance throughout March, recapturing a number of towns, including Boguila, Ngaoundaye, Bakouma, Bouca (ACLED), Amada-Gaza (ACLED), Kouango (ACLED), and the key eastern town of Bria. Bria was taken with support from Russian PMCs who also recaptured Alindao and, temporarily, Mbres. At the end of the month, rebels were once again present in Bakouma and Ngaoundaye.

March 12, 2021
The UN Security Council voted to increase the number of its peacekeepers in the CAR by 2,750 soldiers and 940 police personnel.

March 25, 2021
The leader of 3R, Sidiki Abass, died of combat wounds sustained four months earlier during fighting in Bossembele.

March 31, 2021
The UN's human rights commission stated that it had received reports of human rights violations committed by Russian PMCs, as well as UN peacekeepers in some instances.

April 2021
The CAR military, with Russian and Rwandan support, continued to advance during April, with the capture of a number of central and northern towns, including Bakala, Kaga-Bandoro, Batangafo, Kabo, and Markounda. Several towns were also captured by the Russian PMCs alone, including Mbres and Nzacko. However, the PMCs withdrew from Mbres after three days, after which rebels returned to the town.

April 6, 2021
The UPC announced that it was withdrawing from the CPC coalition. Internal rifts were also reported within 3R and the FPRC, with some elements defecting to end their association with the CPC.

April 29, 2021
Accusations of human rights violations by government forces and Russian PMCs continued during their counter-offensive against the rebels, while the UN peacekeeping mission reported that of nearly 200 rights violations documented between early October and late December 2020, more than 85 percent were attributed to rebel groups.

May 2021
During May, the military, supported by its Russian and Rwandan allies, captured several more towns, including the southeastern towns of Gambo, Mobaye (ACLED) and, once again, Bakouma. Russian PMCs also captured a village around 40km (25mi) north of Bambari after heavy fighting during which 20 people were killed. In a separate incident, Russian and Syrian PMCs attacked a rebel checkpoint at the entrance of a village 28km (17mi) from Bria, killing three CPC fighters.

Meanwhile, the last of the government forces in the far northeastern town of Am Dafok withdrew to Birao due to pressure from Sudan-based militias made up of members of the Misseriya Arab ethnic group.

May 4, 2021
The CAR government notified the UN Security Council that it was requesting 600 new Russian military instructors. According to Russia, the instructors would be unarmed.

May 5, 2021
The CAR military, fighting alongside UN and Wagner forces, captured the town of Abba from the CPC-aligned 3R rebels, a day or two after the rebels had captured the nearby village of Berra. The government coalition had already entered Abba once in March and again in April (ACLED).

May 29-30, 2021
A cross-border attack into Chad, near the far northwestern town of Ngaoundaye, left six Chadian soldiers dead. According to the Chadian government, the CAR military pursued either UPC or 3R rebels over the border into Chad and attacked a Chadian military border post, killing six soldiers, five of whom were first abducted and taken over the border into the CAR. The CAR government denied this and stated that the rebels they had been pursuing were responsible for the attack. Some Chadian army sources accused the Wagner Group of being responsible for the incursion, saying that the Chadian army had then pursued them over the border into the CAR.

Later, Russia's RIA news agency reported that three Russian soldiers or military instructors supporting the CAR military were also killed during the same incident due to a mine explosion. The CAR government stated that three Russian “allies” and two CAR police officers were killed by an improvised explosive device in western CAR, between Berbérati and Bouar, near the border with Cameroon.

June 6, 2021
Government and Wagner forces reportedly burnt down a refugee camp in the eastern city of Bambari, with its 2,000 residents fleeing to a nearby mosque for refuge (ACLED).

June 8, 2021
France suspended all direct aid and military cooperation with the CAR government, blaming it for allowing "massive disinformation campaigns" against French involvement in the country. Social networking company Facebook had said in December that it was combatting rival disinformation campaigns from both sides of the purported France-Russia rivalry in the CAR.

As part of the suspension, about 160 French soldiers helping the CAR with training and military operations would stand down, though another 100 or so would remain active as part of the UN peacekeeping forces and a European Union training mission.

June 10-11, 2021
President Touadera’s entire cabinet, led by Prime Minister Firmin Ngrebada, resigned. The next day, Henri Marie Dondra was appointed as the replacement prime minister.

June 2021
In mid-June, the UPC recaptured a village it had lost to Russian PMCs the previous month, around 40km (25mi) north of Bambari. About a week later, the PMCs seized the village of Aigbando, north of Bria, reportedly killing 10 people. Towards the end of the month, on June 24, CPC-affiliated 3R rebels captured six towns in the northwest of the country, including Koui and villages to its northeast. 

Meanwhile, on June 25, government forces cleared the Kaga-Bandoro to N'Délé road of CPC rebels, including the towns of Mbrès and Bamingui. Two days later, government troops captured N'Délé with support from Rwandan and Russian forces.

June 17, 2021
The leaders of the UPC and 3R signed an agreement in N'Délé forming an alliance between the two groups, despite 3R being part of the CPC and the UPC already having left the coalition (ACLED).

June 28, 2021
Russia denied claims made at the UN Security Council by the US, UK, and France that Russian military contractors in the CAR had committed human rights abuses and obstructed UN peacekeeping operations.

July 1-2, 2021
UPC rebels attacked army positions in Alindao, before reportedly being pushed back 3km (2mi). Seven people were killed in the clashes. Later, it was confirmed that UPC fighters had remained in the town, but then withdrawn after the arrival of Wagner Group PMCs.

July 2, 2021
Russia notified the UN Security Council that it had recently sent 600 military instructors to the CAR. Meanwhile, government forces supported by Russian PMCs seized a town where CPC rebels were reportedly holding kidnapped civilians. Subsequently, 30 captured CPC fighters were reportedly executed.

July 10-15, 2021
It was reported that 3R rebels had set up several checkpoints between Bozoum and Yaloké. Two days later, the rebels also blocked the roads from Bozoum to Bouar, Bossangoa, and Paoua. On July 15, 3R extended its presence northeast of Bocaranga.

July 14, 2021
Russian PMCs killed four FPRC fighters in Aigbando after infiltrating the village.


Graphic of the flag of the Central African Republic is in the public domain (source). Timeline compiled with the help of the ACLED database: Raleigh, Clionadh, Andrew Linke, Håvard Hegre and Joakim Karlsen. (2010). “Introducing ACLED – Armed Conflict Location and Event Data.” Journal of Peace Research 47(5) 651-660. https://www.acleddata.com/